CEO | Hermitage Capital Management
William Browder was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005, when he was denied entry to the country and declared “a threat to national security” for exposing corruption in Russian state-owned companies.
In 2008, Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered a massive fraud committed by Russian government officials that involved the theft of US $230 million of state taxes. Magnitsky testified against state officials involved in this fraud and was subsequently arrested, imprisoned without trial and systematically tortured. He spent a year in prison under horrific detention conditions, was repeatedly denied medical treatment and died in prison on November 16, 2009, leaving behind a wife and two children.
Since then, Browder has sought justice outside of Russia and started a global campaign for governments around the world to impose targeted visa bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers and highly corrupt officials. The United States was the first to impose these targeted sanctions with the passage of the Sergei Magnitsky Accountability Act in 2012, followed by the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in 2016.
Since then, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Baltic states, the European Union and most recently Australia have passed their own versions of the Magnitsky Act. Browder is currently working to have similar legislation passed in other countries worldwide including New Zealand and Japan, to name a few.