Russian tax service files $70 million lawsuit against William Browder
MOSCOW, September 12 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Federal Tax Service has lodged a lawsuit seeking to recover over 4 billion rubles (about $70 million) from Hermitage Capital head William Browder and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov charged with tax evasion, according to the court’s documents read out in a Moscow court on Tuesday.
Browder has been charged with several economic crimes, including deliberate bankruptcy and tax evasion, his attorney Alexander Antipov has told RAPSI earlier. Investigation into Browder was completed within the shortest possible time, from February 8 to 17, 2017, the lawyer added. However, neither the defendant nor his legal team were notified about investigation. According to Antipov, this fact exemplifies “secret justice” and violates the law.
Prosecutors claim that the defendants caused damage estimated at over 4 million rubles. The businessmen, residing in the United Kingdom, were put on the international wanted list.
In February, the Tverskoy District Court arrested the defendants in absentia. However, the United Kingdom refused to extradite its nationals on Russia’s request.
In 2013, a Russian court sentenced Browder in absentia to 9 years in a penal colony. The court found that between 1997 and 2002, Hermitage Capital auditor Sergey Magnitsky created and applied an illegal tax evasion scheme in the interests of Browder.
Magnitsky worked for Firestone Duncan and represented Hermitage Capital, which the Russian authorities accused of tax evasion. Magnitsky was arrested on fraud charges in November 2008 and found dead in a Moscow detention center in November 2009. The lawyer’s death provoked an international outcry.
In July 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion and closed the case due to his death. According to the case materials, Magnitsky’s and Hermitage Capital director William Browder’s actions cost Russia over 500 million rubles (over $8 million).