British hedge fund manager, William Browder, is a wanted man in Russia


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The Independent Online

Russian prosecutors have asked a court to issue an international arrest warrant for William Browder, the millionaire British hedge fund manager who has become a major thorn in the Kremlin’s side over his criticism and exposés of official corruption.

Investigators in Moscow have charged Mr Browder, the founder of Hermitage Captial Management, with tax evasion in a case which human rights groups have largely dismissed as political. His co-accused is Sergei Magnitsky, the whistleblowing lawyer who died in police custody. It is the first time anyone has been tried posthumously in modern Russian history.

Mr Magnitsky became a cause celebre for anger over Russian corruption after he was arrested for exposing a shadowy network of officials and criminal underworld figures in Russia’s largest ever tax scam.

Mr Browder has been accused of illegally buying Gazprom stock when foreign ownership of the world’s largest natural gas producer was restricted. He says the charges are politically motivated. A Hermitage spokesman said: “President Putin treats the law and the truth like a child in a sandbox. There are no rules. There is no law, he thinks he can do whatever he wants.”

In a blow to prosecutors, the court refused to issue a warrant until further steps have been taken to notify Mr Browder that he is wanted by the authorities.