By Lucy Komisar
Sept 21, 2020
BuzzFeed takes a major hit to its credibility by opening an expose of western bank’s money-laundering with a fake story about Alexander Perepilichnyy, a Russian financial operative who was an asset of mega-tax cheat and conman William Browder. He was also the owner of Financial Bridge, an operation BuzzFeed says laundered money to Europe.
BuzzFeed: “Financial Bridge was a key part of the mirror trading scandal. The money laundering gang moved illicit cash for criminals and terror financiers, according to a secret US government report.”
BuzzFeed writes: “After Alexander Perepilichnyy dropped dead while jogging outside of London, US intelligence concluded that he was likely “assassinated on direct orders” from Russian President Vladimir Putin “or people close to him.” Why, for moving cash for criminals? Why would Putin do that? Likely is spook-speak for meaning U.S. intelligence has no evidence, it made it up. Which is what it does. But even fake stories ought to have logic.
BuzzFeed said, “Perepilichnyy had exposed the Magnitsky fraud, a $230 million tax scam by corrupt Russian government officials two years before, which became a flashpoint in US–Russian relations and led to sanctions against Russian officials.”
Quick summary: In a corrupt scam involving collusive lawsuits, Browder‘s shell companies pretended they had to pay out all their year’s profits and request refunds of their taxes. The tax-refund fraud. The scam was organized by Browder with his tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was named by the deal’s organizer in the trial that sent him to prison. Browder would claim the shells were stolen, but evidence shows he controlled them. Indeed, Perepilichnyy was linked to a Russian bank that moved the stolen money.
The victim of the scam was the Russian Treasury, though Browder first lied to the Financial Times that his companies had been targeted. Later he admitted his companies had no assets. For more details go here.
BuzzFeed writes: “Perepilichnyy knew about the scam, because he had facilitated it, helping to launder the stolen funds into Swiss bank accounts. He worked with all kinds of dubious clients, from the alleged ringleader of the Magnitsky fraud to funders of Syria’s Assad regime, which has used chemical weapons on civilians.” Photo caption: Bill Browder helped Alexander Perepilichnyy expose the Magnitsky fraud, before Perepilichnyy’s death.
Here’s what really happened.
Perepilichnyy had been handling finances for another Russian, and when he lost his client‘s money, he fled Russia for the UK. William Browder, always on the lookout to connect his $230-million tax-refund fraud to Russian government enemies, befriended Perepilichnyy and got him to file charges (never made public) with Swiss authorities. Perepilichnyy needing support after his flight from Russia, thereby paid off his new benefactor. Now years later, the Swiss have never brought charges against anybody. When I contacted Swiss authorities in 2017, the response indicated no charges were imminent.
Dear Ms. Komisar
For reason of competence, your enquiry has been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG).
Regarding your enquiry I can inform you as follows:
The investigation was triggered by a report from the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) and a complaint filed by the law firm Brown Rudnick (on behalf of Hermitage Capital Management Ltd). Proceedings against persons unknown were opened on 3 March 2011 based on allegations of money laundering (Art. 305bis Swiss Criminal Code (SCC)). In the course of the proceedings so far, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has seized an amount of Swiss francs in the double-digit range of millions. The Swiss criminal investigation has not yet been concluded.
The Russian authorities filed a request for mutual legal assistance from Switzerland in connection with the same matter. The Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) passed the Russian request on to the OAG for execution on 15 September 2011. This request for mutual assistance has now been executed with full legal effect. This means that the information and documentation obtained in Switzerland has been passed on to the FOJ, which has communicated the results of the mutual legal assistance measures to the Russian authorities.|
In the course of its own criminal proceedings, the OAG has requested several countries for mutual legal assistance, as the case involves complex investigations related to conflicts of political interest.
The OAG is unable to provide any further information at present.
Linda Martina Studer
Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland OAG
Translation: nothing is happening with the charges of nine years ago, because they were fake. Curiously Browder calls Perepilichnyy “the whistleblower” on the tax refund fraud, though Browder has insisted for years (without evidence) that Magnitsky was the “whistleblower.”
Then another curiosity.
BuzzFeed says: “After Perepilichnyy transformed himself from a money launderer to a whistleblower, Financial Bridge did not disappear ” instead it found a new life in the criminal underworld. In October 2012 ” a month before Perepilichnyy‘s death ” it was taken over by two anonymous shell companies.”
Wait a minute. So BuzzFeed is saying that after Perepilichnyy transformed himself from a bad-guy money launderer to a good-guy whistleblower, Financial Bridge did not disappear ” instead it found a new life in the criminal underworld. Really? In October 2012 ” a month before Perepilichnyy‘s death ” it was taken over by two anonymous shell companies. Hey, BuzzFeed, what kind of whistleblower is that?
BuzzFeed says that, “Soon afterward Financial Bridge informed another bank it held accounts with, Danske Bank, that it had two new “beneficial owners,” records obtained by L‘Espresso and ICIJ show. One was a security consultant named Igor Marakin. U.S. authorities have linked a company he controls to the Russian mafia.”
WHAT! This terrific “whistleblower” is still a money launderer, working with the criminal underworld! Then he shifts ownership to two anonymous shell companies. All the while Perepilichnyy is working closely with Bill Browder. Hmmm.
Couldn‘t BuzzFeed tell us more? Were the Financial Bridge shells set up by Mossack Fonseca, the Panama company agent that set up Browder‘s offshore shells? Does Browder realize he‘s now tagged as a collaborator of a criminal money launderer?
Then BuzzFeed says: “Had the banks acted forcefully in the wake of Perepilichnyy‘s death, they might have put a crimp in Financial Bridge‘s plans and perhaps even halted one of the decade‘s biggest financial scandals years before it unfolded.”
In the wake of his death? What about before his death?
But never let a death go to waste. Just like Browder took advantage of Magnitsky‘s death from serious illness in prison to invent an evidence-free story that prison authorities had him beaten to death – belied by forensic reports Browder sent to the Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge, Mass. – he would do the same for Perepilichnyy, suggesting a “suspicious” death.
The article concludes: Was Perepilichnyy assassinated and, if so, was that murder linked to his disclosures of Russian money laundering? “In 2017, a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed that the American intelligence community had “high confidence” that Perepilichnyy was assassinated by agents linked to Russia.”
Investigation? You mean the intel guys told you that. Any details? No? Suspected as much. As we know, “high confidence” means “we don‘t have any evidence.” Remember high confidence about Sadam‘s weapons of mass destruction? How about the attack on a U.S. boat in the Gulf of Tonkin? Excuse to move troops to Vietnam. When do you start realizing that the U.S. intelligence agencies lie to support the policies of the blob (a partner of the deep state)? All the time.
BuzzFeed says, “The coroner‘s investigation, which had been held up for years by UK government requests to keep information about his death secret, ultimately said that Perepilichnyy “likely” died from natural causes but that it was not possible to rule out that he was killed.”
Nothing is impossible, but the inquest evidence is quite solid. No evidence of murder. Why didn‘t you write that? Hmmm.
Of course, Browder was promoting the story that Perepilichnyy was poisoned by a toxic plant.
Here is what Reuters said: No plant toxins found in stomach of dead Russian whistleblower: UK scientist, by Alistair Smout.
LONDON (Reuters) – A scientist on Tuesday told an British inquest that no plant toxins had been found in the stomach of a Russian mafia whistleblower who died suddenly in 2012, challenging earlier evidence that a deadly plant poison had been found.
Alexander Perepilichny, 44, was found dead near his luxury home on the exclusive gated St George‘s Hill estate in Weybridge, Surrey, southwest of London, after he had been out jogging in November 2012.
The sudden nature of the death of Perepilichny, who had sought refuge in Britain in 2009, and his role in helping a Swiss investigation into a Russian money-laundering scheme raised suggestions that he might have been murdered.
As the inquest resumed on Tuesday after a lengthy delay, Monique Simmonds, a scientist from the botanical Kew Gardens, was asked to confirm she had not identified any plant toxins in the samples she had tested. “That‘s right,” she said.
However she said some material that was found in Perepilichny‘s stomach had not been identified, and that the small amount of material used to conduct a DNA test had been used up.
Bob Moxon Browne, the lawyer for Legal & General, with whom Perepilichny had taken out a large life insurance policy, told a pre-inquest hearing last year that police had flushed away contents of Perepilichny‘s stomach and retrieved a small amount.
Simmonds on Tuesday said she did her test without knowing that other material had been disposed of. An earlier pre-inquest hearing had been told traces of a rare and deadly poison from the gelsemium plant had been found in his stomach.
….In the Perepilichny case, however, British police said there was no evidence of foul play.
…..Perepilichny‘s widow has said she did not believe her husband had been murdered, and on Tuesday the court heard written testimony from other family members who said that he had not expressed fear for his life.
The inquest articles in The Financial Times:
Financial Times: Coroner finds wealthy Russian died of natural causes
Financial Times: Inquest finds no plant toxins in Russian whistleblower
And BuzzFeed: “The proceedings were overshadowed by revelations of an inadequate police investigation into Perepilichnyy‘s death. The police admitted they had lost hard drives of financial data belonging to the financier. Lawyers argued at the inquest that the drives could have shed further light on the risks Perepilichnyy faced.
OK, incompetent cops. So is that evidence of a Kremlin killing? No, it‘s evidence of BuzzFeed fake news looking for a way to ignore the findings of the inquest.
In fact, the true story is Perepilichnyy had gone to Paris to meet his lover and had a bad meal that made him ill. That was reported if you take the time to read the evidence. Which BuzzFeed obviously avoided.
It writes: “Earlier this year, in a UK government review into Russian interference in the country, officials gave evidence to Parliament about a series of suspicious deaths, including Perepilichnyy‘s. But the evidence was withheld from the public for national security reasons.”
Who gave evidence? Browder‘s acolytes? What evidence of Perepilichnyy‘s death? Why are you ignoring the inquest findings? And evidence reported by major media such as Reuters? National security reasons? Please detail. The UK has hardly been shy about attacking the Russians. All these excuses raise serious questions about BuzzFeed‘s credibility.
Read Carl Bernstein’s investigation about how the U.S. intelligence agencies have paid off news reporters and editors through the years. BuzzFeed has a long and dishonorable history of writing Russophobic fake news. Starting with the Browder/Magnitsky hoax.