By Lucy Komisar
Dec 4, 2020
After nine years, the Swiss will close a case based on Bill Browder’s fake charges against some Russians he accused of a taking money from the $230-million tax refund fraud.
This was a fraud on the Russian Treasury based on collusive lawsuits. Some crooks used shell companies to sue other shell companies to say “you cheated us, you owe us $$$.” Browder’s companies “paid” and then demanded tax refunds on their “lost” profits. Except they were collusive suits and evidence shows Browder was complicit.
But he ran around accusing a host of others, in this case, some Russians with Swiss accounts. Evidence shows that he invented this story to deflect attention.
The Swiss investigated for nine years, using documents Browder supplied, and the story turned out to be fake. They found no proof.
The Swiss say that they are “considering” ending the case, unfreezing the assets and examining the status of Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management as a plaintiff. But after all this time, this all appears just a formality, as if the Swiss had any reason to act on Browder’s charges, they would have done so by now. Browder of course accused Swiss authorities of being corrupt and chummy with “the Russians.”
This link will take you directly to my interview at 1 hour into the audio, and the Swiss story starts at about 1hr 16 minutes.
Here is the story I told. The Swiss Attorney General’s office is going to close an investigation into charges brought by British-American conman William Browder that people he targeted got proceeds of a $230 million tax refund fraud, a key element in the William Browder Protection Act, also known as the Magnitsky Act passed in the U.S., UK, some Balkan countries and being considered in Australia.
Not surprising, Browder says he will contest the decision. And sue any banks that release the unfrozen funds of his victims. Even worse for him, the Swiss said they may drop him from the case so that he no longer has access to filings.
This has been a long time coming. Nine years since Browder brought the charges and the Swiss froze some $20 million of a handful of targets who had deposits in Swiss banks. This was before the U.S. passed the Magnitsky Act, and Browder admitted in his Prevezon case deposition that he got documents as a party to the case and gave them to the U.S. Justice Department that brought the case against Denis Katsyv and his company Prevezon, accusing them of getting $1.9 million of the $230 million. Lacking evidence, the DOJ agreed to settle and avoid a trial.
Browder had a different attitude about the Swiss sharing documents with Russia. He attacked a Swiss federal prosecutor decision in May to share with Russian authorities information about the case that it obtained in its investigation. This comes under normal state-to-state cooperation in such legal cases. It is not normal for non-state individuals to share protected confidential information.
Browder had claimed that Russians who did the tax refund stashed $24 million in Swiss banks. He named a tax office director, her ex-husband and family and said they put stolen money in Credit Suisse. His London law firm Brown Rudnick started its letter of charges by lying about Magnitsky, calling him “an anti-corruption lawyer who was contracted as an external lawyer and advisor to Hermitage.”
The letter urged Swiss authorities to check out Browder’s website The Untouchables, which is a good place to document his lies.
Far from being an anti-corruption lawyer, Magnitsky was an accountant, listed in his testimony as “auditor.” He was not hired in 2007, but, working for the firm Firestone Duncan, he handled Browder’s account from 1997 and managed his tax evasion.
No space to detail the purported evidence in the lawyer’s 111-page document, but obviously it did not impress the Swiss investigators.
After nine years, the Swiss found zero proof of Browder’s claims. Prosecutors said they had enough evidence to keep between $1 million and $4.4 million frozen if they find links to crimes committed in Russia. But none of that relates to the tax refund fraud.
What the media doesn’t report: The documents Browder gave the Swiss came from a Russian, Alexander Perepilichnyy. He was handling investments for a Russian named Vladen Stepanov, ex-husband of a woman who headed a Russian tax office. He lost a lot of money for his client, who was angry. Perepilichnyy fled to London.
He contacted Browder, gave him financial and bank documents from Stepanov, some to Swiss accounts, and got…. We don’t know the deal. Browder used those documents in 2011 to charge Stepanov, ex-wife and family with receiving money from the tax refund fraud in which shell company scammers defrauded the Russian Treasury of $230 million. Stepanov along with Katsyv and banker Dmitry Klyuev were investigated based on Browder’s charges. Evidence now points to Browder as the crook. Another complicated story.
Perepilichnyy collapsed and died while out jogging near his home in the exclusive gated community of St George’s Hill in Surrey (which meant he had a lot of cash) after returning from a mysterious trip to Paris in November 2012. Turned out he was visiting a girlfriend and got food poisoning. Browder immediately declared he was killed by a plant-based poison, suggesting a hit ordered by his favorite villain, except that was rejected by a British botanist at the inquest.
Browder said in a statement, “The Swiss General Prosecutor’s office also wants to avoid being held to account.” And, “In the same letter, they also wanted to kick Hermitage off of the case so we could not challenge them.” He complains that Swiss law enforcement “capitulated to the Russians.”
He also told a Swiss paper, “The termination of the investigation is an invitation for money launderers to come to Switzerland. Here, they have nothing to fear.” Browder who famously laundered profits via offshore accounts in Isle of Man, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and more, certainly knows how money-launderers use offshore.
Of course, the U.S. and UK press continue to lie or be very deceived about the case. In writing about the Swiss decision, Bloomberg reporter Hugo Miller said the tax fraud case was pursued by Sergei Magnitsky. That is untrue and backed by zero evidence. He called him a tax lawyer, which is also untrue as there is lots of documentation including in his testimony that he was an accountant. In fact, the accountant who handled Browder’s tax evasion!
Financial Times reporter Sam Jones lied in his May story sympathetic to Browder’s complaint about the Swiss sharing information with Russian investigators. He wrote with no evidence that Magnitsky exposed the Russian tax fraud. He said the Council of Europe and Interpol rejected Russian attempts to “smear” Magnitsky and attack his former colleague Browder. He didn’t say that U.S. Federal Judge Pauley rejected the Council report as biased and without credibility. Interpol apparently takes its orders from Washington. Magnitsky, of course, was not Browder’s colleague but did his crooked accounting.
Jones also said without evidence the tax refund fraud was done by senior officials of Russia’s interior ministry. The only evidence about who was involved comes from Viktor Markelov, the operative who went to jail for the fraud. He named Sergei Leonidovich as a collaborator. That would be Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky.
I wrote the reporters with links to evidence. No replies. But it looks like the Swiss prosecutors didn’t believe the line promoted by Bloomberg or the FT.
I had contacted Swiss Justice authorities in 2017. I wrote that I was told that there was no investigation going on and that the matter had been dropped. I asked: “Is that true? Did any public documents or statements result from this matter?”
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland replied:
“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. (that wd have been $24mil.)
“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.
If charges were not filed by next year, the case would have been ended anyway by the statute of limitations.
British investigators reject Browder “documents” and say he is “a pain.”
UK fraud investigators also no longer believe Browder’s fake “documents” and call him “a pain.” See this. Scroll past the Browder line adopted by the ignorant reporter. Just go to where the UK authorities know Browder’s docs are fake.
“The Telegraph also reported that a short after the first meeting, the same official again took him to one side at the NCA and told him: ‘This guy Bill Browder is a real pain. We are not carrying on with the investigation.’
An NCA spokesman said in a statement: ‘The NCA is aware of the allegations made by Mr Browder and has carried out inquiries and assessment. ‘The barriers to a criminal investigation are high and a full investigation is most effective where the major criminals can be brought to justice.
In the NCA’s judgment this in not in the UK – so the NCA has offered, and continues to offer, assistance to foreign partners investigating Mr Browder’s allegations.’
And the UK is very anti-Russia. If even British authorities don’t buy the fake Browder story, you know it’s a fake story!
So why does the U.S. State Department continues to promote Browder’s fake Magnitsky story? Hint. It’s about the Blob’s* anti-Russian agenda.
You will not read this in any other media.
- The Blob are the permanent intelligence agency – military industry -foreign policy and congressional hirelings who run U.S. hegemonic (ie. we are the masters of the universe) foreign policy.