In this Canadian Patriot Podcast, Matt Ehret speaks with renowned award winning journalist Lucy Komisar on her groundbreaking exposure of Bill Browder’s fraud in Russia and internationally, as well as the truth of the Magnitsky Hoax that underlies the virulent new technique of economic warfare that has been used to target “corrupt” politicians with a focus on taking down Russia’s leadership.
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For more information pertaining to Lucy Komisar’s research on Bill Bowder, click here:
Tell us a little about yourself and background. Your approach to journalism stands out from what has become modern corporate journalism?
When the 60s civil rights movement started I was college student. Went to Mississippi where I heard they needed someone to work on the Miss Free Press. I became editor and stayed for a year. That made me want to be journalist. Couldn’t get job on a paper. The UPI bureau chief Tommy Zumbo said sorry Lucy we already have 3 girls. So I turned freelance, wrote for Village Voice about civil rights, labor, then womens rights. Got a job at the Bergen Record and stayed for 3 years till 1981. I had gone with several reporters on an Oxfam trip to El Salvador and Nicaragua where the US proxy wars were going on. I rode with some of the church women in the van that was later found burned after they were raped and killed. Working in NJ didn’t make sense. Decided to go back to freelance.
I was reporting on democratic oppositions in countries that included the Philippines, Zaire and Haiti. In each one, opposition people told me the dictator had looted the country and stashed the money offshore in places such as Switzerland. I investigated the offshore bank & corporate secrecy system. I had never read about it in the media. I had a hard job finding places to print the story till the issue of Jewish money in Swiss banks came up. Then the LA Times ran my story that this was not only about Swiss banks, it was an international system. That was over 20 years ago. About ten years ago I was asked to be in a film about naked short selling to talk about how the offshore system was used to cover up this corrupt dealing. So I began to investigate and write about that – again a topic ignored by the MSM till the recent GameStop story.
As a freelance I have to write about important stories the MSM ignores – which isn’t hard. I’ve just published on 100Reporters the first of two stories about corruption by major for-profit life insurance companies. Athene owned by Apollo, MetLife, and Accordia started by Goldman Sachs. For the last 40 years I have focused on aspects of the western oligarchy run financial system which the MSM ignores because they are run by oligarchies with shared interests.
- In a few days, the Chartered Financial Analysts of Canada will be giving a platform to Bill Browder to speak. You have spent the last few years doing more work than most to expose the lies of Bill Browder who has become sold to the west as a great hero and anti-corruption crusader. Can you say who Bill Browder is and why it is important to understand his story as a figure who has driven the passage of a new type of sanction mechanism dubbed the Magnitsky Acts?
Browder is the world’s most famous conman.
In 2000 I got a U.S. National Research Council grant to study money laundering in Russia. I found it! The crook I discovered was William Browder, an American investor who had just changed his passport to the UK to avoid taxes on his profits. The UK doesn’t tax money stashed offshore; the US does. He who was involved in illegally siphoning profits from Avisma, a Russian titanium company, through transfer pricing on the Isle of Man. That means an Isle of Man shell company bought Avisma titanium at a fake low price and sold it on the market at the real price, with Browder and collaborators skimming the difference.
Browder and his collaborators had bought Avisma from Mikhail Khodorkovsky, another crook, who passed along the transfer pricing operation as part of the deal. Browder spoke at a Moscow event to which press were invited, and I asked him about Avisma. He replied with an attack on me, but at the coffee break other reporters who knew the truth laughed. From then, I began to investigate Browder.
Browder was trading in Russian stocks. He said up shell companies to hold the shares in Kalmykia, in a Buddhist state or department that gave big tax breaks to companies in which half the employees were disabled. His shells didn’t have any employees. He sent Sergei Magnitsky, the accountant handling his company Hermitage, to Kalmykia to find people who would say, for a price, that Hermitage employed them. He got about 4. But local tax investigators must have gotten suspicious. It turned out these so-called stock analysts were manual worker, a gardener for example. Browder was ordered to pay $40million in taxes on two shell companies. He stalled. He paid off a local inspector. It took a few years before federal investigators stepped in. Magnitsky the accountant was detained and questioned in 2006.
The importance of the story is that the Browder hoax is the first pillar of Russiagate
1 Dec 2012 Browder hoax/Magnitsky Act passed
2 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign promoted fake stories tying Trump to Russia
3 Jan 2017 Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a declassified version of its report on Russia’s interference in the US presidential election. The report, which draws on intelligence gathered by the FBI, CIA, and NSA, concludes with “high confidence” that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” that included hacking the personal email accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. https://www.vox.com/world/2017/1/6/14194986/russia-hack-intelligence-report-election-trump But report at the end says they have no evidence.
4 Dec 2017 Shawn Henry pres Crowdstrike which examined DNC computer testified to Schiff Committee, they don’t know who exfiltrated emails Not revealed for year and half (even then Dec 2019 WaPo reports Crowdstrike evidence Russians behind hacking.) https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/sh21.pdf
5 April 2019 report of Mueller investigation , no evidence of Trump connection to Russia https://consortiumnews.com/2019/07/03/mueller-report-gets-the-trump-tower-meeting-wrong-promotes-browder-hoax/
- Durham investigation shows Hillary Clinton campaign invented stories about Trump in Russia and shopped them to the FBI, which used them to attack people such as Carter Page who were connected to Trump,
- Browder has promoted the image that Sergei Magnitsky was an anti-corruption whistleblowing lawyer with whom he worked closely to expose the role of Russian state actors in defrauding their own people for years, with Putin even reaping millions of dollars by shady deals. As the story goes, Magnitsky was unlawfully arrested by Russian authorities where he was killed in prison. Can you speak about the lies embedded in this popular narrative?
As explained, Magnitsky was a key figure in Browder’s corrupt tax evasion in Kalmykia. There is no evidence he exposed anything. He was interrogated 3 times before his arrest, in 2006 and twice in 2006. He never accused any officials of anything. The documents are filed in US federal court and also on my website, the KomisarScoop.com. Browder makes claims without evidence targeting Putin. In fact, he acknowledges that he is just guessing, that he has no evidence.
The European Court of Human Rights in an Aug 2019 report, after a claim by Browder, said Magnitsky was lawfully arrested in the tax evasion inquiry. It noted there was evidence he was planning to leave the country.
The Court said: “The accusations were based on documentary evidence relating to the payment of taxes by those companies and statements by several disabled persons who had confessed to sham work for the two companies. One of them testified that he had been in contact with Mr Magnitskiy, had received money from him and had assisted him in finding other sham employees. He also said that Mr Magnitskiy had told him what to say if questioned by the authorities and had asked him to participate in a tax dispute as a witness.”
- The sham was to say that these disabled workers were Browder‘s employees so he could get a big tax write-off.
The next day an investigator interviewed him initially as a suspect, and then as an accused. He was charged with two counts of aggravated tax evasion committed in conspiracy with Mr Browder in respect of Dalnyaya Step and Saturn. [They were two shell companies Browder set up in Russia to hold the shares he bought.]
The fake death story
- Browder claims in talks and writing that a squad of 8 government thugs entered the room where Magnitsky was held and beat him with truncheons for over an hour. First reaction, how come no marks on his body? Because the forensic photos show none. Were the thugs all aiming for his wrists and ankles. Second, Andrei Nekrasov, who did the excellent film “The Magnitsky Act—Behind the Scenes,” which you can get free online, measured the cell and found 8 people could not fit in it.
- There were two important independent reports about Magnitsky in prison and death, one by the Russian Public Oversight Commission for Human Rights Observance, an NGO charged with investigating prison conditions, and the other by Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge, Mass, to which Browder had given documents, including the POC report. Neither claims Magnitsky was tortured or beaten or even physically abused. He did suffer from incompetent medical treatment for his pancreatitis.
- The Public Oversight Commission report November 16, 2009, the day of Magnitsky’s death said: 6:30 p.m. Review by the doctor on duty. Diagnosis: Acute Cholecystitis and Pancreatitis. Hospitalized to the surgery department for dynamic monitoring and treatment. 7:00 p.m. The patient behaves inadequately. Talks to a “voice,” looks disorientated, and shouts that someone wants to kill him. His condition is diagnosed as psychosis. The emergency doctor was called (order No. 904253). There are no body damages apart from traces of handcuffs on the wrists.
- It was planned to make an anti-spasm therapy prior to the arrival of the psychiatrist but such therapy was not possible due to the aggressive behavior of the patient. 9:15 p.m. The patient was surveyed again as his condition deteriorated. When the psychiatrist was examining the patient, the latter’s condition deteriorated sharply. He lost consciousness. The reanimation procedure was started (indirect heart massage and ventilation of lungs using the Ambu pillow). The patient was transferred to the special room where he was received an artificial ventilation of lungs and a hormones injection. Reanimation procedure lasted 30 minutes. At 9:50pm the patient died. 9:15 to 9:50. 35 minutes. Not much time for a more than one-hour beating!
- The Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, Mass. to which Browder sent 40 documents also made no claims of a beating.
- The European Court of Human Rights report also did not back up Browder’s claim that Magnitsky had been tortured and beaten to death. All reports are public and I link to them.
- No matter. Browder faked a death certificate claim, highlighting “closed cerebral cranial injury,” to “prove” that Magnitsky must have been beaten on his head and making illegible a line that said “no signs of a violent death detected.” However, Magnitsky’s mother told forensic investigators that her son had fallen and hit his head in 1993, 16 years earlier, and suffered a concussion, which was treated. The investigators found the medical reports and included them in the forensic document Browder received, he knew his connection of a closed cranial injury to an invented Magnitsky beating was a fabrication.
- Browder changed his killing story over a few years. Magnitsky died in November 2009. Browder said at Chatham House (London) the next month that he didn’t know how Magnitsky died and at the University of Diego Law School a year later that he’d been put in an isolation cell and left to die. He didn’t invent the beating till a year after that, December 2011, with the collaboration of former State Department official Jonathan Winer. They were lobbying for the Magnitsky Act, really the William Browder Protection Act, aimed at using U.S. power to block the Russians for going after him for massive tax evasion and theft. All this evidence is on my website.
- From your research, and many other pioneering investigative journalists, much evidence has been pulled together indicating a very different story than what we have been told. In fact it seems that Browder is much less clean or honest than we have been told and along with Sergei Magnitsky, may have actually been responsible for the crimes he has accused Russian state actors of. Can you share some examples of this?
Browder was involved in a tax refund fraud. I talked to a Moscow lawyer Andrey Pavlov who admitted involvement. He had worked on the same scam with another western-led company. He was working with a Viktor Markelov to set up an operation of collusive lawsuits. A fake company would sue a real company for failing to carry out a contact. The victim company would not contest but pay out. Then would seek return of taxes paid since profits disappeared. Hermitage company had $1 billion profits in 2006. The 2007 suit led it its claim for $320 million treasury refund. Browder says his companies were stolen and this was done by others. There is no proof of that. Markelov testified he worked with a Sergei Leonidovich. Magnitsky’s full names is Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky.
Meanwhile tax investigators searched the offices of Browder and his Magnitsky’s employer Firestone Duncan and took documents and computer files. Browder would claim they used them to steal his companies. That is impossible under Russian leader. To change ownership either original listed owner must go to company house and request the change or someone with power of attorney can request it remotely.
Browder attempted to muddy the waters.
That’s what happened. Powers of attorney were provided by Browder‘s Cyprus shells to Oktai Gasanov, cited by Markelov as his collaborator.
Here‘s the power of attorney (translation) from Browder‘s Kone Holdings. Browder claims the powers of attorney are forgeries, but Yianna Alexandrou, employed at the Cyprus company formation agent that set up Browder’s shells, swore in a deposition in U.S. federal court that she recognized her signature.
Then the three Browder shell companies were sold to a new figurehead owner. On this July 31, 2007 sale agreement, see the reference to Glendora, a Browder shell company in Cyprus which was the owner of the Kalmykia shell Parfenion. (It’s called layering, a classic offshore tactic: one shell owns another shell.)
Parfenion share sale agreement (bill of sale) dated July 31, 2007, nearly two months after the June search.
Here is a photo of the bill of sale of Parfenion, one of the shell companies involved in the tax refund fraud. It says Parfenion in English in big red letters. Glendora in English is underlined.
Pluton LLC, represented by Viktor Alexandrovich Markelov, is the buyer. Glendora Holdings Limited, represented by Oktai Gasanovich Gasanov, is the seller. Glendora was Browder‘s Cyprus shell company, owner of his Russian shell Parfenion. In his interrogation, Markelov says Gasanov was his collaborator in the tax refund scheme.
Reregistration of the shell companies
The companies were, according to Magnitsky, not officially re-registered till September. Magnitsky, in June 2008 testimony, says that after “rulings dated 3 and 7 September 2007 by the Arbitration Court of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad Region” the companies were “were re-registered on 11 September 2007 and 20 September 2007 under new legal addresses in Moscow.” The rulings related to the collusive lawsuits. If that is true, the companies till then would have been registered as owned by Glendora, with their old addresses.
But Glendora is prominent in the July bill of sale. So, why wasn’t the company re-registered for five or six weeks? Did the old (Browder) owners want to keep control, along with the old mailing address?
Magnitsky testified that he received the lawsuit notifications only on October 16, which conflicts with the July date on the Parfenion notification receipt, sent to an address he confirms is correct. He didn‘t explain why mail was apparently not picked up for months.
Browder ignores the lawsuits
This is persuasive that Browder and Magnitsky colludes on the tax refund scam.
The key evidence about William Browder’s Magnitsky hoax and the lies he has told to support it.
Browder says he hired Sergei Magnitsky as his lawyer in 2007 to investigate theft of $230mil from
Russian Treasury. Lie, Magnitsky worked for him as accountant handling his Hermitage Fund since 1997.
Browder says Russian officials involved in $230mil tax refund fraud against Russian Treasury. Lie,evidence shows Browder and Magnitsky did it.
Browder says Magnitsky blew the whistle on the $230mil fraud. Lie, Rimma Starova went to police 6 months before Magnitsky referred to it in an interrogation.
Magnitsky testimonies https://bit.ly/3BOipH1
Browder says Magnitsky was beaten to death. Lie, evidence supported by Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, Mass, shows he died of badly treated disease.
Browder forged documents to “prove” Magnitsky was beaten.
European Court of Human Rights rejected Browder’s claim.
European Court of Human Rights Council of Europe