Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Russia Puts Hermitage Boss Bill Browder on Wanted List

A Moscow court revealed Wednesday that Bill Browder, head of the Hermitage Capital investment fund, has been placed on an international wanted list in connection with an investigation into the embezzlement of Gazprom shares. But in an embarrassment to prosecutors, the court refused to issue a warrant for his arrest in absentia, saying they had failed to make a reasonable effort to notify Browder about the court proceedings. The decision to place Browder on the wanted list, made April 8, was disclosed by the Tverskoi District Court as it started hearings into a request by prosecutors to arrest Browder in absentia. Under Russian law, a suspect cannot be arrested in absentia unless he is first put on an international wanted list. After an arrest warrant is issued, Russian investigators pass the materials for the case over to Interpol. But the likelihood of Browder facing actual arrest appears slim. Browder, who heads what was once the biggest foreign investment fund in Russia, is at loggerheads with the Russian government over his successful campaign to blacklist Russian officials implicated in the death of Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

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