Thursday, July 13, 2017

Magnitsky, Browder and Russia-gate.

Remember the Magnitsky case and the US Magnitsky Act which imposed sanctions upon a number of Russians associated with the Putin government? 

Magnitsky died in custody in Russia and US hedge fund operator William Browder brought the case to Western attention alleging that Magnitsky died at the hands of corrupt Russian officials, who were involved in fraudulently stealing assets from Browder's hedge fund.  Browder' claims were quite widely aired and it all added to the ramping up of US-Russia tensions and the demonization of Putin. I recall seeing an extended piece on the subject on CBC's flagship news program The National.  It was followed by an interview with Browder, who presented himself as a friend of Magnitsky, outraged by his treatment, and seeking justice. It was all quite convincing.  

Well it seems that things may not be quite the way Browder claimed.  Indeed it may have been Browder himself who was acting fraudulently.   This was alleged in a film made by Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of Vladimir Putin.  He intended to make a film about the affair, which would indict Putin and his allies.  To quote from an article by Robert Parry: 

However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov’s research kept turning up contradictions to Browder’s storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder’s company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.

So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.

But not many people have seen the film.  It has been so far fairly successfully repressed by Browder's lawyers and other players in the US including the Washington Post.  The full details can be found in Parry's article.

But what is interesting is that this story intersects with the so-called Russia-Gate Trump story, in that Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr.  was also involved in the Magnitsky story.  So more may be coming out about the Magnitsky case.

I have no idea about what really happened with Browder, Magnitsky and the Russian authorities,  but I have an uncomfortable feeling that once again we are being sold a bill of goods by the corporate media.  They have certainly failed to present both sides of the story.  

More can be found on Nekrasov's film here in an article by Gilbert Doctorow.


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