Case against Bill Browder over illegal purchase of Gazprom shares terminated

Case against Bill Browder over illegal purchase of Gazprom shares terminated
Bill Browder

Investigation authorities have yet to officially comment on the informat

The criminal case against Head of Hermitage Capital fund Bill Browder, accused of illegal purchase of Gazprom shares, has been terminated, Interfax source reports.

According to the new agency’s source, the case has been dismissed “for absence of elements of crime.”

There has been no official comment on the termination of case on Gazprom shares from the Investigative Committee and Browder’s representatives.

The Russian law enforcers had accused Bill Browder of having bought about 200 million shares of Gazprom from 1997 to 2005 bypassing the laws, which prohibit the purchase of securities by foreign companies and funds. The investigation believed that the Dalnyaya Step Company had been used for the illegal acquisition of shares. In the case of the illegal acquisition of Gazprom shares, the Russian court issued a warrant for Browder's arrest in absentia.

In 2013, a Moscow court found Browder guilty of non-payment of taxes by Dalnyaya Step and sentenced him in absentia to nine years in a colony. The fund’s lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was another defendant in this case. The case against Magnitsky was dismissed due to his death in jail in 2009.

In addition, Browder and another manager of Dalnyaya Step Ivan Cherkasov are accused of three cases of deliberate bankruptcy of companies. The trial in the case of deliberate bankruptcy began in Moscow in late August 2017. The case is heard in absentia, as Cherkasov and Browder are wanted by the Russian law enforcement agencies.

Bill Browder was one of the initiators of the Magnitsky list — i.e. the list of Russian citizens involved in the death of Sergei Magnitsky and violation of human rights, on whom the United States imposed visa and financial sanctions.

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