MOSCOW, April 22 (Itar-Tass) – Moscow’s Tverskoi Court on Monday will continue the deferred consideration of investigation’s motion to arrest in absentia head of the Hermitage Capital Managemenrt fund William Browder on charges of theft of shares of Gazprom in the amount of 3 billion roubles.
On April 17, Judge Pyotr Stupin decided that it is impossible to consider this motion due to the improper notification of Browder. “The case materials contain the address, and the law enforcement agencies should properly notify Browder,” Stupin said.
Browder is on trial in absentia in Russia in the case of tax evasion amounting to more than 522 million roubles (Article 199, part 2 of the RF Criminal Code).
The investigation requested the court to arrest Browder within the framework of the investigation of another case – the illegal purchase of shares of Gazprom bypassing the ban on such operations for foreign companies.
Investigators believe that Browder’s actions were aimed at strategic penetration into the Russian natural gas monopoly and exerting influence on it. According to investigators, Browder illegally obtained a package of Gazprom’s shares and sent to the company demands to change the company’s charter, the audit commission and the board of directors makeup. Browder also put forward his candidature to the company’s board of directors and his partner to the audit commission.
According to the motion, the investigation requests Browder’s arrest in absentia because he is hiding from Russian justice abroad.
Russian Prosecutor General’s Office spokesperson Marina Gridneva explained to Itar-Tass earlier that the criminal investigation against Browder is conducted “in absentia because he defaults, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the citizen of which is the accused has refused from international legal cooperation with Russia on this issue.”