Former US banker Bill Prouder reveals why Vladimir Putin is trying to oust him

BAs the ill-fated Browder was on his way to his Madrid hotel for breakfast, two men with a shirt labeled “Police National” suddenly approached him and detained him on a Russian arrest warrant.

Broder, once the largest foreign investor in Russia, was a thorn in Moscow’s side before he was arrested that day in May 2018. Many years ago, he discovered Prouder in the many companies he had invested in. Looted by oligarchy and corrupt officials. Not wanting to allow this scam to go unchecked, Browder, described in his 2015 bestseller Red notice, Decided to fight back. He appointed a local lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who helped Broder uncover the multi-million dollar tax evasion involving Russian officials who went as far as President Vladimir Putin. Angered by the revelations, the Kremlin accused Magnitsky of fraud. He was jailed in 2009 and eventually murdered.

Horrified by what had happened, Broder publicized the case and demanded that it be known as the 2012 U.S. law, the Magnitsky Act, which allows Russian assets to be frozen for human rights abuses. In retaliation, the Russian government prosecuted Browder without appearing, found him to be a tax evader, and issued an Interpol Red Notice for his arrest. Although many of these announcements were eventually rejected by Interpol, that did not stop the Spanish police from attempting to arrest him on another warrant in Madrid that day. This can be a very scary moment in Browder’s life.

“When they pushed me into the back of a police car, I began to think they were not real police officers, but Russian kidnappers,” Broder told The Daily Beast. “Maybe they bought some uniforms and stole a police car, took me to an airport outside the city, picked me up on a private jet and drove me to Moscow. I imagined they would kill me like my lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.”

Fortunately for Browder none of this happened. As described in his new book, Freeze order, The warrant was again declared invalid by Interpol — all of which were dismissed as political in nature — and Browder was released from custody. “Twitter saved me,” says Browder in the book. “My tweets [which he had been able to send while in custody] Made hundreds of phone calls to Interpol and Spanish officials, who quickly realized the mess they had made. “

But that did not stop death threats, kidnapping warnings and ongoing Russian persecution, including the failure to appear on two occasions, Broder told The Daily Beast, which is “like living in a war zone. After many years, you will become insensitive to it. I have been living under threat from Russia for 12 years.” , It is physically impossible to be overly cautious throughout that time.

I do not drink tea with Russian strangers.

The truth is, that’s it Freeze order More scary than the Stephen King novel. It is the most devastating primary of state criminality and its impact on a human being. Browder’s book focuses on the illegal activities of the Russian state — not just financial crimes, but the countless murders and poisonings of its critics. It follows many other storylines: how Proder managed to survive all these years without being killed; How bankers and lawyers in the West carry out Russian crimes by laundering money and setting up maritime accounts; And the endless corruption of the Russian government has worsened under Putin.

“There was a popular expression in Soviet times, ‘If you do not steal from the state, you steal from your family,'” Broder told The Daily Beast. “The culture of corruption is so well structured that if you have the power, everyone thinks it’s irrational not to use it to steal everything you can.

Prouder estimates that since Putin came to power, the amount of dirty money transferred by Western banks has been $ 1 trillion or more. Magnitsky law is now legal in 34 countries – and has been used against everyone from Saudi assassins to Myanmar generals – a real problem for Russia and its oligarchy. In fact, at the 2018 summit, when Trump asked Putin if he would deport 12 Russian officials for US crimes, the Russian leader’s response was that the United States should retaliate, “For example, we can bring Mr. Browder. In this particular case.”

That did not happen. However, Trump initially gave an enthusiastic response: “I think this is an incredible offer,” he said, and then he walked away again. Also, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manford, members of Trump’s entourage, met with a former Russian intelligence official and a Russian lawyer to discuss the Magnitsky law. Thus, Broder’s reference in the book does not seem to be exaggerated: “Magnitsky’s law was not only the driving force behind Putin’s official policy toward the West, but also behind his bold intervention in American political activity.”

If so, Browder has now hired bodyguards to protect him, change his daily routine, and convert his entire calendar to hard copy so it cannot be hacked. When asked by The Daily Beast if he was using any other means to stay safe, Browder, who was born and educated in the United States but is now a British citizen, declined to go into details, but said: “I can say I will never fall into the habit of exploiting one thing. I do not drink tea with Russian strangers. ”

Browder did not believe this Russian theft scandal would disappear in no time, and he did not argue for the enactment of new banking laws, but instead called for “changes in law enforcement.”

“At the moment, Western aides have the least impact on the Russian corruption. Bankers can defraud billions of dollars and nothing will happen to them,” he said. I’m betting no. “

Of course, Vladimir Putin has a lot more in his mind these days than money laundering and Browder’s credits and trends, yet Browder says harassment continues. But if nothing else, the author Freeze order At this time, the Russian dictator may be one of the primary authorities in the inner workings of the mind. And as far as Broder is concerned, no matter what other commentators think, Putin is definitely not crazy.

“My analysis is that he is acting very rationally on the basis of his own bad values. He has been a dictator for 22 years and has stolen hundreds of billions from the Russian government. Putin understood this and saw for himself what was written on the wall.

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