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Red Notice - Bill Browder


Liberty
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Excellent book about an early investor in post-communism Russia and his sad dealings with the mafia-state there. I recommend you read it:

 

https://www.amazon.ca/Red-Notice-Finance-Murder-Justice/dp/147675571X

 

Every time I mention the book on Twitter, I immediately get tweeted at by Russian psy-ops trolls trying to direct me to propaganda sites that attack Browder. This of course makes me more convinced that he hit a nerve and that the book is correct on Russia.

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I bought in on a Twitter recommendation. I think it was Morgan Housel, I think.

 

I finished it within 2-3 days. Absolutely riveting and it read like a Soviet Union spy novel from decades past rather than a modern bio.

 

Edit: modernish. I realize part of the book takes place before the fall of the USSR.

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I thought it was great as well - I used to work in a former USSR satellite state and had some near-dealings with Russian nationals and organizations. Although things have changed a lot - it's spot on.

Charlie Munger read it last year and really enjoyed it too.  ; )

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Red Notice is a must read in order to understand Putin and Russia today, imo. As a follow up, I then read Collusion by Luke Harding; he also wrote Mafia State (Russia), A Very Expensive Poison, and Murder in Benghazi.

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Thank you for bringing up the story of Bill Browder.

I haven't read the book yet but I've watched the link provided by JanSvenda and did other basic research.

Bill Browder seems to be a nagging pebble in the shoes of the big shot Politburo people.

 

If you have an interest in propaganda and counter-propaganda, perhaps worthwhile to surf the web and try to find and visualize: Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes. The movie tries to show the other sides to the story.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/dissident-director-helped-trumps-russia-comrade-attack-us

 

This story (Red Notice, which I assume to be the true part) helps reminding me how important it is to preserve our institutions.

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Liberty,

 

Please try to press on the "Union Jack" button in that article linked to by Mr. Browder in that particular tweet, and please try to consider how he can tweet like he has done in that particular tweet based on this:

BBC’s inquiry into the response to statements addressed to Russia by Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder

We would like to comment on the inquiry by the British Broadcasting Corporation as regards the response to statements addressed to Russia by Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder.

On July 19, we received a BBC request for an urgent comment on several strong statements and even accusations addressed to Russian leaders by Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder and to respond in writing by 9 am on the following day, July 20. We were promised that the comment would be read without edits in the programme devoted to Browder. Despite a busy schedule, the Foreign Ministry promptly prepared a detailed reply and sent it to the BBC.

The next morning we were surprised to discover that our comment had been extensively compressed, that only about 10 per cent of it was used in the best traditions of the British media. Most of the 20 minute programme was devoted to an interview with Browder, whereas our comment was given only one minute.

This is not the first time the BBC has compressed comments by Russian officials. It is not uncommon for a 45-minute interview with a Foreign Ministry official to be reduced to less than five minutes. A typical example is Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the programme HARDTalk, from which substantial fragments explaining the gist of Russian policy on many issues were cut.

To be honest, we are stunned by the imbalance in reporting information. We consider this unacceptable for a media outlet that positions itself as professional and unbiased.

Since the BBC did not want to quote in detail our commentary we will use this opportunity to do so.

“It is strange to hear words about theft from a person who stole over $1.5 billion from Russia and was convicted twice in 2013 and 2017. He was sentenced to nine years and given huge fines. Another criminal case against him is under investigation now. He is charged with serious crimes and Russian law enforcement agencies are planning to interview a number of US and British secret services employees and others.

“Since 2004, Russian investigative bodies have recorded 12 crimes by Browder’s criminal group. Subsequently, criminal cases (pre-trial proceedings) have been opened against the group for tax evasion, failure to comply with the duties of a tax agent, deliberate bankruptcy, swindling, money laundering and other crimes. The actions by Browder and his accomplices inflicted over 4.5 billion roubles of damage on Russia.

“In February 2018, Russian investigators started another criminal case under Article 210, part 1, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (forming a criminal organisation with intent to committing systematic, grievous and extremely grievous crimes; the running of the organisation and the coordinating of the criminal actions of its members). The circumstances of Broder’s criminal activities are being investigated under this case, including his attempted perjury during the US versus Prevezon hearings in a US Court.

“At present, Browder has been charged with tax evasion, failure to comply with the duties of a tax agent and deliberate bankruptcy. Handicapped people were allegedly included on the payroll of Browder’s companies for tax evasion purposes while not actually working there. Tax benefits were granted to these companies based on misinformation.

“In the course of this investigation, unique materials have been collected. Russia believes that these materials would influence the Western attitude towards the Magnitsky Act that allows Browder to avoid international arrest under the pretense of being a victim of political harassment and that allows him to do further damage to Russia’s interests.”

The full text of a detailed seven-page comment that quotes judicial facts and substantiations was sent to the BBC. If anyone is interested in it, we can provide it upon request.

In general we would like to emphasise that for our part we will continue to provide detailed commentary on important international issues. We hope that journalists for whom professional ethics is not an empty phrase will forward them to their audience to provide an objective view of the state of affairs.

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They have zero credibility. Bunch of thugs and crooks know that the Magnitsky act is one of the only things that hurt them at present, because it throws sand into their game of pillaging Russia and spending and hiding the money in the West. When people like Putin or Xi or Ergodan or whoever are going after you on trumped up charges of corruption or tax evasion, you know you did something to piss them off.

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It's difficult in fellowship to analyze and discuss facts [as presented to us] based on your approach, Liberty. I'll just let it go.

 

Browder's lawyer was tortured and killed because he helped uncover corruption (it was actually a $200m+ tax-refund scam that the Russian taxpayers paid for), Browder had to flee the country and abandon all he had built there. He successfully pushed for sanctions against the criminals responsible for the situation and many countries, after looking deeply at the facts, followed suit. Ever since, Russia has been going after Browder and trying to discredit him and get the sanctions removed. In that context, and the context of Russia being a severely corrupt mafia-like state that kills journalists, jails political opponents and controls tightly the media and judicial system, I'm sorry, but official Kremlin statements about Browder or the Magnitsky act don't have any credibility, and the fact that Russia is trying to use Interpol and other judicial means to reach a foreigner that stood up to it is scary af (including trying to make a deal with Trump to get Browder to Russia, a deal that Trump called 'incredible"). He'd never get a fair trial there. He's lucky he's a UK citizen now. I don't care that the BBC compressed their long statement into a short one, the BBC is not a propaganda mouthpiece.

 

Read Browder's book and see how the charges against him in russia and his trials came about, you'll see what kind of Godfather/Kafka crossover they're dealing with over there... I don't remember the exact details, but basically the police raided his offices, and later he learned that with some corporate documents they were able to do some stuff in the name of some of his companies in some remote part of russia, then they hired a lawyer in his name who went to court and pleaded guilty for him. Every time he's tried to show Russian authorities proof of what he discovered or his paper trail, they basically ignored him and in a country without a free judiciary, nobody's going to go after Putin and the oligarch. Crazy banana republic stuff.

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Liberty, I already know all that posted by you in your last post here. What I actually want to discuss with you is what's going on right now, understood as facts now [now = today].

 

I could start it out?

 

[i still think the discussion is relevant for the book and has merit here in Books forum.]

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Go ahead, what would you like to add?

Like Putin is a good guy, and everything you hear about him and his despotic regime is all propaganda? Magnitsky, Crimea, Donetsk, South Ossetia, Syria, Skripal, Litvinenko, Kara-Murza, the dozens of journalists killed in Russia, and numerous other minor Russian political opponents who have found themselves shot, disappeared, hanged mysteriously, thrown off buildings, etc. No doubt, all these things are Western fabrication, lies, propaganda.

 

Liberty, I think you were right the first time. The fact that Putin is fighting back so vociferously, it makes me think that maybe the politicians are actually doing something right for once.

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