Thursday, October 6, 2022

Freezing Order

First learned about "Freezing Order" (2022) when author, Bill Browder was interviewed by Steve Paikin.  It does clarify some events noted in earlier blogs.  We all knew that Putin could not be trusted and that somehow he was linked to Donald Trump.  Much has already been public, but much has either been buried or dismissed.

Bill Browder is an investment manager/owner.  He saw an opportunity when the Soviet Union broke up.  He moved to Moscow and set up a fund the Hermitage Capital Management.  At one time he was the largest foreign investor in Russia.  That ended in 2005. One problem was that he had to deal with corruption that undercut his investments so he developed ways of minimizing corruption, but soon found that authorities weren't on board. 

The Russian government forced Browder out of Russia.  Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer working with the Hermitage fund stayed and became an annoyance (obstacle) uncovering corruption.  He was imprisoned and tortured and died November 16, 2009.  

Browder took upon himself to fight back and organized to set up the Magnitsky Act as a memorial to the misdeed uncovered by the honest Sergei Magnitsky.  In effect the government could freeze funds that had been illegally obtained and laundered.  Obama signed the Magnitsky Act into law on December 14, 2012 and illegal assets started to be frozen.  Putin reacted by blocking adoption of Russian children by Americans.  He also put Browder and the dead Magnitsky on trial to prove they are the ones that stole money.  In other words they were accused of committing the crimes that they were investigating.

When the Panama Papers came out it was learned that Sergei Rodulgun, a cellist had come across billions of dollars.  It turns he was the closest friend of Putin and perhaps the only one he could trust with his money.  On his job Putin was limited not only by his salary, but any public means of making money.   He is fact was one of the richest men in the world.  He went to great lengths to keep his source and total wealth secret.

Browder was harassed with the Russians even hiring top notch American lawyers as part of their arsenal.  They made an effort to uncover Browder's Russian contacts.  As you may recall those who crossed Putin tended to fall from high buildings or be poisoned or even be shot.  

One name that crossed Browder in court was Natalia Vaselnitskaya who claimed she worked for private business, but later seemed more likely she worked directly for the Russian government. 

The infamous dossier seems likely to have some truth to it, but has been dismissed.  Browder was told that Russian disinformation sources were able to put in some misinformation that allowed others to focus on the untruths as if they proved the whole thing was false.  

The Helsinki conference where Trump and Putin met, discussed behind closed doors and took part in a press conference revealed another link.  After Robert Mueller indicted 12 GRU agents for interfering in American election Putin was asked if they could be extradited and replied that sure they could be interviewed in Russia, if Bill Browder could be indicted.  Trump remained silent.  Later when told other names to be extradited Trump thought that was "an incredible offer."  What hold did Putin have over Trump--for a few clues check:

The well known Trump Tower meeting had been orchestrated by Natalia Vaselnitskaya the Russians hinting they might have some damaging information on Hillary Clinton.  Clinton had not only criticized Putin, but was also a supporter of the Magnitsky Act.  Paul Manafort noted that Browder's name was a topic, but the underyling concern was the Magnitsky Act.  When revealed the Trump team claimed it was about adoptions.

Browder's legal problems were ongoing and harassment never ending,  At one point Browder was accused of murdering Magnitsky, although earlier they claimed the death had been from natural causes.  Browder was tried in abstentia and of course was guilty and altogether he was sentenced to a few decades of heavy labor.  However he eventually got 34 nations to adopt their own version of the Magnitsky Act.  The Act was not just against Russians, but has been used against the Saudi assassins of Jamal Kashoggi and organizers of Uigher concentration camps in China.

Chrystia Freeland (who speaks Russian) was one of the people behind the scenes among other activities advocating for Canada adopting its own Magnitsky Act.  More on her:

As I write this, Putin has signed legislation that annexes parts of Ukraine, ironically while the Ukrainian army has been steadily reclaiming much of this land.  His unprovoked attack on Ukraine and his disregard for the truth proves he is unworthy to be a leader of a great nation.  Or maybe it just proves if you have enough power you can do anything. 

An earlier blog about Putin and the truth:

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