HOW THE MAGINSTKY ACT GOT ITS NAME

Bill Browder’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Could Explain Anthony Scaramucci’s Bizarre Behaviour




Chris York
Huffington Post
July 31, 2017

In his first week on the job, Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci grabbed headlines around the world by swearing like a trooper and saying things like this about his new colleagues...



The new White House Communications Director was so busy causing a scene he even reportedly missed the birth of his baby son on Monday, congratulating his recently-estranged wife by text message.
Whilst barely any type of behaviour from the Trump administration surprises anymore, it’s worth asking if The Mooch’s outbursts were spontaneous or designed to distract from something else.
On Wednesday 26th July, financier Bill Browder was due to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In pre-prepared remarks published by The Atlantic, he said: “I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use US enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests.”
On the same day Browder was due to testify, President Trump announced, seemingly out of nowhere, that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in “any capacity” in the US military.
Browder’s testimony was then postponed to the next day - the same day The Mooch made headlines when his expletive-ridden tirade was published.

While it's fun watching the Mooch meltdown, the real story today is William Browder's Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. @cspan @maddow
Browder’s testimony, which received relatively little coverage, is extraordinary with a senator calling it one of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s “most important” hearings.
In it he describes a Russian system of government that operates in the shadows using corruption, blackmail, torture and murder - all led by Vladimir Putin.
Browder said: “Effectively the moment that you enter into their world, you become theirs.”
Browder was a very successful businessman operating in Russia and was on friendly terms with Putin but this all changed when he and his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered evidence of a huge $230 million corruption scandal.
The pair reported it to the Russian authorities: “And we waited for the good guys to get the bad guys. 
“It turned out that in Putin’s Russia, there are no good guys.”
Instead of investigating the allegations Browder was himself accused of tax evasion and was barred from reentering Russia after travelling abroad on business.
Magnitsky was jailed and is believed to have been beaten to death in 2009.
Browder said: “Sergei Magnitsky was murdered as my proxy. If Sergei had not been my lawyer, he would still be alive today.”

In 2012 the dead lawyer gave his name to the Maginstky Act which was passed by the US Congress to target Russian human rights abusers by barring them from America and freezing their financial assets.
Browder said of the move: “Putin was furious. Looking for ways to retaliate against American interests, he settled on the most sadistic and evil option of all: banning the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.”
But why was Putin so angry at the sanctions? Bowder explains:
For two reasons. First, since 2012 it’s emerged that Vladimir Putin was a beneficiary of the stolen $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky exposed.
Recent revelations from the Panama Papers have shown that Putin’s closest childhood friend, Sergei Roldugin, a famous cellist, received $2 billion of funds from Russian oligarchs and the Russian state.
It’s commonly understood that Mr. Roldugin received this money as an agent of Vladimir Putin. Information from the Panama Papers also links some money from the crime that Sergei Magnitsky discovered and exposed to Sergei Roldugin.
Based on the language of the Magnitsky Act, this would make Putin personally subject to Magnitsky sanctions.
This is particularly worrying for Putin, because he is one of the richest men in the world. I estimate that he has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains from these types of operations over his 17 years in power.
He keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation. Therefore, he has a significant and very personal interest in finding a way to get rid of the Magnitsky sanctions.
The second reason why Putin reacted so badly to the passage of the Magnitsky Act is that it destroys the promise of impunity he’s given to all of his corrupt officials.
There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who are given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property.
Before the Magnitsky Act, Putin could guarantee them impunity and this system of illegal wealth accumulation worked smoothly. However, after the passage of the Magnitsky Act, Putin’s guarantee disappeared.
The Magnitsky Act created real consequences outside of Russia and this created a real problem for Putin and his system of kleptocracy.

Interestingly, Donald Trump Jr described his controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer as a “short introductory meeting” focused on the disbanded program that had allowed American adoptions of Russian children.
This Russian lawyer was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a woman Browder describes as part of a “group of Russians acting on behalf of the Russian state”.
He adds: 
Pyotr Katsyv, father to Denis Katsyv, is a senior Russian government official and well-placed member of the Putin regime; Denis Katsyv was caught by U.S. law enforcement using proceeds from the crime that Sergei Magnitsky uncovered to purchase high-end Manhattan real estate (the case recently settled with the Katsyv’s paying $6 million to the U.S. government). Natalia Veselnitskaya was their lawyer.
In addition to working on the Katsyv’ s money laundering defense, Ms. Veselnitskaya also headed the aforementioned lobbying campaign to repeal the Magnitsky Act. She hired a number of lobbyists, public relations executives, lawyers, and investigators to assist her in this task.
Her first step was to set up a fake NGO that would ostensibly promote Russian adoptions, although it quickly became clear that the NGO’s sole purpose was to repeal the Magnitsky Act. 
During the Senate Judiciary Committee, Browder was asked by Senator Lindsey Graham’s on the apparent contradiction of Russia allegedly having ties to the unverified dossier on Trump while also rooting for him to win the presidency.
Browder replied: “What you need to understand about the Russians is there is no ideology at all.
“Vladimir Putin is in the business of trying to create chaos everywhere.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal asked: “They’ve got you both ways: with the carrot of continued bribery, and the stick of exposure and blackmail if you defect?”
Browder replied: “That is how every single one of their relationships work. That’s how they grab people and keep them.
“And once you get stuck in with them, you can never leave.”
Have A Great Day! 

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