Russia should keep its own list of Western politicians, who smear the country, and name it after wanted UK fraudster and Kremlin critic, Bill Browder, a top senator suggested during a meeting with Vladimir Putin.
“There’s an idea to introduce a list or a register of the most odious foreign politicians, government and public figures, who were spotted making the most slanderous claims about our country and our people,” Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said as the lawmakers met with the President on Tuesday.
“Such a register could be named the ‘Browder List’” due to UK investor, Bill Browder, becoming “the first to turn lies against Russia into a tool of hostile state policy,” he suggested.
Kosachev didn’t specify if those on the list will face any sanctions from Moscow, only saying that “attempts to blacken Russia should be responded to not only with judicial means, but also on the moral level.”
Browder used to be the largest foreign investor in Russia in 1990s and early 2000s, but was forced to flee the country after massive violations by him were uncovered.
Earlier in December, a Moscow court ordered the arrest of the US-born British businessman on charges of creating a criminal network, which delivered the damage of at least 10.5 billion rubles ($150 million) to the state budget. In 2013 and 2017, he was also found guilty of massive tax fraud in Russia and sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison.
The head of the Hermitage Capital Management fund became a high-demand media personality in the West after Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who was investigated in connection with the Browder case, died in pre-trial detention in Moscow.
The 54-year-old had used the death of his associate to accuse the Kremlin and lobby the adoption of the infamous Magnitsky Act in 2012, which allowed the US to sanction numerous Russian officials and businessmen over alleged human rights violations.
However, Russian investigators stated in November that it was “highly likely” that Magnitsky was actually killed in 2009 on the order by Browder. There were grounds to believe that the ill-fated attorney and three other people, who were aware of fraudster’s activities and mysteriously died as the probe against him unfolded, were poisoned by a rare water-soluble compound of aluminum.
Russia has issued several warrants against Browder with Interpol, but all attempts to achieve his extradition from the West have been fruitless. He was detained in Spain this May but was released after only a few hours.