Russian Prosecutor General Asks US to Initiate Criminal Case Against Browder
AFP 2017/ BERTRAND GUAYRussia17:43 24.10.2017Get short URL
The Russian prosecutor general insists on a criminal investigation into the Browder case, charging Hermitage Capital Management CEO with tax evasion and using tax schemes.
“I sent the US Attorney General two letters asking him to initiate a criminal case [against Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder] and appoint an independent attorney,” Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika told reporters Tuesday.
The Russian official’s statement comes just a day after reports claiming that Browder’s US visa had been revoked.
READ MORE: Russian Tax Service Claims Damage Compensation From Browder Worth Over $68Mln
In order to initiate contact on the issue, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office had also sent more than 1,000 pages of documents on Browder’s crimes in Russia to the United States.
“We hope [the United States] hears us, and the case [against Browder] will be initiated. Because we have very good contacts with our US colleagues… When it comes to this case, it’s a deadlock here,” Chaika said.
The US reacted to the Browder claims on Monday, urging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to restore Browder’s visa. The latest statement by the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) spokesperson reported his Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was valid after it had been “manually approved” by the CBP on Wednesday.
However, a State Department official told Sputnik that they have no record of Browder ever applying for a US visa.
The statement was made after the Observer newspaper, which belongs to The Guardian Media Group, reported, citing Browder, that the businessman had been unilaterally declared wanted by INTERPOL by Russia and thus, stripped of the US visa. The information has not been yet confirmed by Moscow.
Russia charged Hermitage Capital Management CEO William Browder in 2013 for tax evasion and using tax schemes, involving hiring disabled persons for tax breaks. He was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison. His former tax and legal consultant, Sergei Magnitsky, created the tax evasion plan, as the court ruled, but died in pretrial detention in 2010. This incident served as the pretext for the adoption of the so-called Magnitsky Act.
READ MORE: Moscow Court Begins Second Trial in Absentia Against Browder — Lawyer
The Russian prosecutor general has also mentioned the document is his speech, saying that it has no grounds.
“In our opinion, there is every reason to say that the law [Magnitsky Act] is unfounded and was adopted solely at the suggestion of criminal individuals who have committed crimes and have already been charged here on the territory of Russia,” Yury Chaika stated.