Disinfo: Tax-cheating Jewish oligarch keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia

Summary

Tax-cheating Jewish oligarch [Bill Browder] keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia. For years Browder – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s self-proclaimed “enemy number one” and head of the Hermitage Capital Management fund – has been waging what can only be described as his personal anti-Russia campaign.

Disproof

This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions and their chief proponent, Bill Browder. The article uses anti-Semitism to attack Browder and accuses him of Russophobia - a disinformation tactic commonly used by pro-Kremlin outlets to deflect criticism about Moscow's policies by painting Russia as the innocent victim of Western antipathy.

As the CEO of Hermitage Capital, once the largest investment firm in Russia, Bill Browder fell afoul of the Russian government in 2005 after exposing the details of a vast $230-million corruption scheme involving several high-ranking Russian officials. While investigating the corruption scheme, Hermitage Capital’s tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was arrested. During his 11-month imprisonment, he was tortured, denied medical care, and ultimately left to die. A Russian investigation concluded that Magnitsky had died of natural causes; the case was then closed and Magnitsky was posthumously convicted of tax evasion. To commemorate Magnitsky, Bill Browder launched a campaign to sanction the individuals involved in his mistreatment and death. This campaign has led the United States and several other countries (the UK, Canada, and the Baltic States) to adopt so-called 'Magnitsky sanctions' that restrict the travel and freeze the assets of individuals who have been involved in human rights abuses and mass corruption.  EU foreign affairs ministers have also agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the EU equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States, EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said. 

The case of Sergei Magnitsky has been widely studied by investigative journalists, subjected to investigative TV programs (giving the floor to all protagonists), and examined by the anti-corruption NGO Transparency International which posthumously bestowed its integrity award to Magnitsky. Moreover, in August 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russian authorities “had deprived Sergei Magnitskiy of important medical care and had failed to comply with their duty to protect his life.” The judges unanimously concluded that Magnitsky's treatment in detention violated his human rights, the right to live, right to liberty and security, and right to freedom from torture.

For more disinformation cases on Magnitsky, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 177
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: UK, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Anti-Semitism, Bill Browder, Sergei Magnitsky, Anti-Russian, Russophobia, Sanctions
  • Outlet: Russia Insider
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Disproof

A recurring conspiracy theory, loaded with anti-Semitic sentiment. There is no evidence to support the claim that such an invitation was ever made.

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Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative, challenging Ukrainian statehood. For example, pro-Kremlin media has claimed that Ukraine has become a vassal of Germany and Ukraine is under US control.

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The ministry confirmed that Russia was interested in keeping Le Mesurier alive and in good health so that he could reveal the truth about the activities of the White Helmets, but that external parties supervising these activities were not in favour.

Disproof

An example of one of many disinformation and propagandistic claims about the White Helmets. Pro-Kremlin media routinely accuse the White Helmets of “working for terrorists” and being the making of Western intelligence services. No evidence is given to support these claims.

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