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tv   Bill Browder  Al Jazeera  March 17, 2019 11:32am-12:01pm +03

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my office it was conveyed directly to parliamentary security but the assurance i want to go visit had it provided details that could have been edited on immediately it would have been but there unfortunately were not such details. well turkey's foreign minister has arrived in new zealand. will meet members of the muslim community and visit the scenes of the attacks three turkish nationals are now known to have died in the shootings flash floods have killed at least fifty people in the indonesian province of. the rain triggered the damage in the provincial capital jayapura floodwaters have receded leaving a trail of fallen trees and. those are the headlines the news continues after. nearly three years after the u.k. voted to leave the european union. is yet to take for. britain seemed three
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weeks divorced from its european maybe. the whole process still be revived stay with us for the latest. see. the turmoil of post soviet russia in the ninety's saw a handful of business people grow rich. while the country itself group poor. and the world stage a once proud nation was humiliated. into the mix of chaotic capitalism and wild west opportunity step two young stanford business graduate ready to make his fortune. bill browder built the largest foreign investment fund in russia revelling in deals that saw his investments increased ten fold overnight emboldened by his own success proud of began to speak out about a culture of corporate corruption. soon forming file of russia's new president
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vladimir putin. in two thousand and five browder was expelled from the country and declared a threat to national security he's home intelligent vestment fund was raided and he says a complex fraud conducted by russian officials resulted in the theft of some two hundred thirty million dollars it was a scheme uncovered by browed his lawyer surrogate magnitsky whose latest death in prison apparently the result of torture gave brown to a thirst for revenge and justice purpose the putin's regime has been to commit terrible crimes in two thousand and twelve the united states congress passed the magnitsky act aimed at freezing the assets of those suspected of financial crimes and human rights abuses and magnitsky style provisions of being adopted by the european union so russia is a country where a thousand individuals have stolen all the money bill browder multi millionaire investor turned anti putin activist talks to al-jazeera.
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thank you for talking to al-jazeera. you've been on record describing yourself as flooded with putin's public enemy number one is that something that scares you or do you wear it as a badge of honor well i would say both i mean of course when vladimir putin wants to go after you he's got resources and he's not constrained in ways that others are and so i live a very precarious life which may end very suddenly and tragically however the reason that i'm in this position is that. vladimir putin and his regime killed my lawyer sergei magnitsky from covering a massive putin connected corruption scheme and they killed him in a horribly sadistic way at the age of thirty seven and i've been going after them ever since they killed him and we've created
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a law in the name of sergei magnitsky in the united states in the u.k. in canada and the stony a laffey a lithuania and many other countries and there's a lot putin hate so much and that's the reason why he hates me and the fact that this law is causing him so much grief is something which which shows that we've got him back and that's what you with with pride you've been convicted in russia in a censure on two counts accused of tax fraud arrested very publicly in madrid last year accused among other things of killing mr magnitsky yourself. and then we come to this meeting in helsinki between trump donald trump the u.s. president and mr putin last year when putin said we'll give you the twelve indicted military intelligence officers indicted by special counsel robert mueller but what we want in return is you bill browder how did that make you well again i was
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i was actually in america at the time and it and donald trump's reaction to that was i think it's a brilliant idea so i of course i couldn't feel anything other than. a little uncomfortable but two things that made me feel first was that in america donald trump doesn't have his own personal rendition squad this that's to go through the department of justice in the courts and the united states the rule of law wouldn't have handed me over to the russians whatever donald trump's reaction was but again the fact that i'm living rent free in putin's head shows just how how effective the magnitsky act has been that i would be the one thing he brings up at the summit and so from my perspective it only emboldened me to carry on and to push harder to get other countries do magnitsky and it was an extraordinary example was it of the state of modern politics in geopolitics his vladimir putin russian president
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all he's done in the last few years in ukraine and over the decried by obama and the obama administration donald trump willing to embrace them and willing to trade you. for secrets extraordinary well it was extraordinary what he was willing to do but it was also very comforting to see how the system rallied around to protect me and and the next day he didn't walk back his his agreement to this thing the next day after that he didn't. but then the senate of the u.s. senate then had a vote what would it be a good thing or a bad thing to hand me over and along with i should point out eleven others and and they voted ninety eight to zero not to hand me over which shows that that whatever donald trump is thinking that's not a consensus opinion among his people or in america generally involved at the moment exclusively understand in following the money trail what happened to the missing
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millions from your fund in russia. in the process of that you know many people wonder what the basis of this relationship and trump and putin it is about money is it about favors have you in your following the trail discovered any secrets there well everybody asked me that because so for nine years we've been looking to who got the two hundred thirty million dollars of tax money that we paid that surrogate magnitsky discovered was stolen and went back to various corrupt officials we've we've traced out for nine years and we found all the money and through law enforcement investigations the private investigations the whistleblowers and so far there has not been any money that went to donald trump having said that there's a lot of money that went of lattimer putin ok will leaving the money to one side i mean youth featured in the miller inquiry in another respect in that in a secret meeting that took place in trump tower in mid two thousand and sixteen campaign time between trump officials and
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a senior russian lawyer. the key subject matter was you indeed has mr miller contacted you about that well i can't really talk about what mr miller has contacted me about or not but what i can. c. is that in on june ninth two thousand and sixteen natalia vessel it's guy on a russian lawyer the lawyer involved in that meeting the lawyer involved that meeting who went to trump tower along with a couple of other russians and sat down with donald trump jr. and paul man a fort and this is this is now before donald trump just after he was nominated before he was elected president and they said. if your father talking to donald trump jr donald trump is elected president can you repeal the magnitsky act and could you indict bill browder and. she wasn't there just as a private citizen she was there effectively on behalf of lattimer putin in the russian government and it's remarkable from him from almost every different
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standpoint that that the russian government would send an emissary to talk about me in the magnitsky act is remarkable that donald trump jr. his son his son in law and his campaign manager would meet with this russian to talk so is it possible do you think in the end that if collusion is proven that it may turn out that bill browder in the magnitsky magnitsky act with powerful motivators well we know for sure that the russians were there because of the me in the magnitsky act and we know for sure that they supported donald trump because they thought he would be more favorable about these issues than hillary clinton and we know for sure that they were willing to do things in order to make that happen what we don't know is whether the donald with whether donald trump personally agreed to that and colluded all we know is what the russians intention was we don't know what donald trump's response was going back to the money trail the basis of the act of course passed by barack obama
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or under the administration of two thousand and twelve. how successful in practical terms has it be in the last six years in terms of strangling the funds of the oligarchs in terms of cooling human rights abuses to account well so extremely successful it's been a dramatic and sort of tectonic success and what why has it been so successful because because of the nature of russia so russia is a country where a thousand individuals have stolen all the money from the country literally a thousand individuals have stolen a trillion dollars over a twenty year period so they've stolen all this money and so that the other hundred forty five million russians are in destitute poverty there's a thousand individuals and so. historically when you do sanctions you sanction a country and it's all very blunt in the average person and starves them and the elite they fly in their champagne and caviar in private jets but instead what the
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magnitsky act does and the successor sanctions rules have done which have all been copies of the magnitsky act is go after those thousand people and there's no if they're ready to kill for money there's nothing more painful for them to have their money frozen and as even if you haven't frozen their money just the the idea that their money could be frozen it is like a sort of sword of damocles hanging over their head and and and that's why putin is hates the magnitsky act so much is because he's a kleptocrat first and foremost i believe he's worth two hundred billion dollars i believe that he keeps that money in the name of other people offshore and and if that money is put at risk of being frozen and some of it has been frozen that touches him more than anything else that more than anything else the act has also had its powers expanded it's not just focused on russia. used recently against seventeen saudis believed responsible for the death of. was that
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a victory for you to find that the act was now being broadened so that after the miscarriage was passed in two thousand and twelve budget senator john mccain and senator ben cardin they looked at putin's reaction which was hysteria here when he literally lost his cool and they said we're on to something big here. and there's no reason why a chinese villa in saudi villain or a venezuelan villain should be able to get a better deal than the russian villains and so they they created the global magnitsky act which passed unanimously in two thousand and sixteen which goes after bad guys everywhere and and the united states government has been rolling it out quietly and steadily across all different parts of the world and when jamal khashoggi was was brutally murdered i saw this and i thought this is like the
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textbook case for the magnitsky act he was a truth teller he was exposing corruption in his regime in the regime that he came for in the saudi regime and then they lured him to the saudi consulate in istanbul and extrajudicial e murdered him in the most gruesome and reflect way if there was no this was this was the textbook case for them and for the global magnitsky act and then they used it they used it on seventeen saudis and they didn't use it on mohamed bin solomon and i and i along with many members of congress think that that's that's really bad and expanded as well in recent months into the european union what what what do you foresee for its its use in the e.u. can you see it for instance begin to influence what appears to be the fairly insidious and creeping russian influence in european political affairs i'm thinking of russian money allegedly used to prop up the. populist government in italy also suggestions of russian money being involved in breaks it. tell me about the
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european angle well so your key united states is the most powerful country in the world but if you get the united states doing saying sions and europe not then then these guys are all going to the south of france and buying villas on the hotel in front of the hotel du koppen in marbella in sardinia and so the so you're a pastor has to conform with the rest of the world in order for this to be an effective policy and europe up until now hasn't now in december we had a breakthrough in europe where they were finally after nine years of my campaigning they finally agreed. in principle to do it but it was a green in principle and having a law there's a lot of dots to connect and the devil's in the details and the one thing i can say is that europe is where the russians are most active they find lots of corrupt politicians and officials in the united kingdom in italy and in spain everywhere
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and they corrupt them and so europe is a very hard place to get this legislation passed they're fighting like hell behind the scenes right now to try to stop it and they've got countries like hungry in italy who are sort of at the moment sort of expressing objections. and even if it does get past getting twenty eight countries to agree on who to sanction is a very hard thing to do but it is the big prize if we get europe then we got them where they're where it really hits them which is the bill was the all that kind of stuff let me ask you about magnitsky now he was your lawyer in russia. as you explained he died in. prison in two thousand and nine. and all of these global. acts of legislation are in his name do you feel responsible for his death well i feel extremely responsible for his death he
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wouldn't be dead he wouldn't have died he would've suffered some horrific torture if he hadn't been my lawyer they effectively tortured him and killed him as my proxy and and so and he was a young truly amazing great man of the two children great great life ahead of him and he was cut short in the most horrific way at the age of thirty seven and for me every day i feel terrible about that and and that's that is that feeling of guilt and that feeling of responsibility and that feeling of anger that drives me for nearly a decade to devote my entire life to getting justice for him well you've talked about revenge who at what point do you imagine you might feel a vengeful well thought about revenge is about justice but you know just revenge revenge is something he has we're told it's part of justice that's what justice is you don't let people get away with with murder it's going well beyond sergei magnitsky you know other many other victims come to me with their issues and their
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problems in that's it's become his legacy to to try to try to create a tool. a tool of fighting impunity in his name and so it's not just about justice or revenge or any of those things it's also about his legacy you've talked about the thousand dollar gawks you talked about the trillions that they stole taking you back to your time of the beginning in russia as the soviet union fell you also made a fortune in a fund that was investing in the privatizations of the day taking advantage a century of the collapse of the soviet system isn't that exactly what they did definitely not what they did so first of all what i did was i when when they pride . ties the country had a stock market and i invested in the stock market and i vested in big companies in the stock market and what i did which is totally different than what they did was that their the oligarchy and these corrupt officials were stealing from gas prom
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the biggest state company lukoil etc and i came up with an investment strategy which was to help to try to stop the stealing and to expose these guys as i was doing just the opposite which is they were stealing from the state from the people from their companies and i was researching how they were doing the stealing and then exposing the research the international media to get them to stop it which is how they which is why the regime turned on me and went after me in such a vicious and horrible way but isn't there a gap in timing here initially you made your money and then you turned to criticizing know the regime initially you made your money in much the same way they did by taking advantage of a collapsing system well they only similarity is that we were both investing in the system at the very same time the difference was that almost immediately after i started i started exposing corruption which is which is i think that anybody who
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knew me in russia at the time said that's what russia needs that's a very brave thing to do and it's a good thing for russia nobody said it's a bad thing to do to invest in companies and i was doing it for money i wasn't doing it for the goodness of the state but to invest in companies expose corruption and try to stop it that definition way is is is a good thing well given what was going on at that time then it can't have come as much of a surprise to you when the rug was pulled out from under your feet because it happened to mikhail khodorkovsky and other all the guards he's now a friend in our viewers here in london he stuck his nose into opposition politics he criticized the kremlin and he had his wings clipped as did all the others you must've seen that and thought what if i carry on like this the same fate befalls me or did you feel some out. sort of immune as a fellow in a well arrogance it was arrogance it was stupidity it was bad bad judgment. but it was also circumstance so for a while i could get away with doing it for
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a very weird reason which was that when vladimir putin came to power he he was he was really sort of powerless because the oligarchs were stealing power from him and so every time i was exposed one of these oligarchy he would come to my aid this is at the very beginning around the year two thousand he would come to my aid and and and there's this expression your enemy's enemy is your friend and so for a while vladimir putin was on my side you know to cleaning up russia the problem was that he wasn't trying to get rid of the oligarchy he just wanted to become the biggest oligarchy selves and in a effectively did that by arresting michael horta kosky the richest man in russia you put the richest man in russia in jail and you and you are the television cameras the film him sitting in a cage what's your natural reaction going to be as another all of our cause is you don't want to be in a cage and that was the moment that the oligarchs came to him and said what we have to do vladimir cannot sit in this cave and he said fifty percent and so at that
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moment then that was in late two thousand and three two going into two thousand and four that was the moment that lattimer putin. turned in turn into the biggest oligarchy that was the moment that my activities became intolerable to him no longer useful to him indeed i mentioned your arrest in madrid last year interpol warrants convictions in absentia do you feel free to live. well i i live in a very precarious position where any day i could be killed or arrested illegally rendered back to russia but i don't spend my life living in fear because if i did that they would have already achieved ninety percent of their objective and so i take precautions. when and how i can i know that probably all the precautions i take can't prevent the russians from killing me if they really want to kill me. and . i carry on doing what i'm doing i'm not going to i'm not going to stand down
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while you've chosen quite some place in which to do it london the u.k. a country in which twelve thirteen fourteen estimated russian critics have lost their lives have come to a sticky end in dubious circumstances in just recently is why here why are you in london why are you living such a public existence well as i said i'm not the person who's going to live in fear i'm not the person who's going to withdraw i'm not the person who's going to go into hiding my reaction is to go straight back at them and. i'm not going to change locations. and you know the fate may may you know deal me a very ugly blow but but that's the decision i've taken well from from the perspective of being in london. and in the context of the wider european question which we mentioned earlier why do you think these things keep happening in britain is it the case that britain is itself compromised in terms of its ability to deal
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with russia because of all the money parked here because of bragg's it because it can't in a sense afford to alienate countries like russia well what i've seen is that the british government on a regular basis doesn't create consequences for really horrific crimes committed by the russian government in this country and. xander living in co was murdered with radioactive polonium in two thousand and six and it was discovered that was the russian government who did this russian f.s.b. and there was no serious consequences just a few diplomats expelled alexander polygyny a whistleblower in our case was killed after jogging outside his home in surrey the police didn't even investigate it as a murder. and then of course the script all poisoning where high grade military chemical weapons were used in in a cathedral town in the center of the u.k. and the only thing that happened was twenty three diplomats were expelled and those
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thirty three diplomatic slots are now being negotiated to be replaced so there's some pretty undiplomatic language passed between the two but the diplomatic language and words are cheap there is there was no consequences and so it's created an environment to allow this to happen and then the question is why and the answer is that this country is compromised because there is russian money that's polluted the political process here and i've seen it up close and personal where members of the british establishment into british law making bodies are taking money to support russians in the magnitsky case and other cases take lord barker. he's a member of the house of lords it's he's a lawmaker and he's on the parent payroll of all leg pasta running around the world trying to reduce sanctions on him. why is that not illegal maybe it is illegal i don't know but that's outrageous and that's allowed to happen and nothing is nothing's being done about it you've described to me of putin not as
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a man of conviction or ideology but as a modern day public he. doesn't have he's not he's not like joseph stalin he's not doing all these crimes for some communist reason he's not he's not doing this for some religious reason he's doing this for money he's a kleptocrat all he cares about is money and staying alive but and that makes him much more similar to a public escobar than a joseph stalin or adult hitler and the problem is that you give pablo escobar. the powers of a sovereign state with military and intelligence services and nuclear weapons and that's a streamlined scary combination well speaking of staying alive and we certainly hope you do do you feel that the efforts that you've put in place now. unstoppable even potentially come a day when you're not around to low be constantly in there because the absolutely
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the the magnitsky act is now turned into a viral phenomenon it's jumping from country to country to country there's maybe it's the proposals all over the world in different parliaments and governments etc and of course i can help and i can stir up the pot make things happen but without my presence they would happen at the same time and in addition to that the the money laundering investigation the who got the two hundred thirty million dollars and sergei magnitsky was killed over has led to a massive international money laundering investigation which is snared danskin bank nor dia banks web bank credit suisse u.b.s. banks all over the world are sixteen countries with money laundering investigations going on as a result of the make its case in its march much much larger than just the two hundred thirty. bill browder thank you for talking to us as it thank you.
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the ultranationalist marks connected with one of the world's worst humanitarian crisis we dealt as illegally maigret joining with the military to impose a deadly political agenda we have devoted our nation what has happened to the revenge of west one of the biggest stains on the country as a whole. is another religion this is a politic me and an unholy alliance on al-jazeera. traveling can be a beautiful. country . trump has found to keep money out of america
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people in power travels alongside those hoping to make it in. she's on al-jazeera. preparing to bury the victims of new zealand's mosque attacks police will soon begin to return the bodies of the fifty victims. of the prime minister we need for a policy change as the country mourns for the lives lost. and you're watching out is there live from also coming up a cycle and brings devastation to parts of southern africa would dozens of people.

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