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MOSCOW, July 25 (Itar-Tass) - Russia has put British subject William Browder, the chief executive officer and a co-founder of the Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, on the international wanted list, a source at the press center of the Russian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
Browder is being accused of stealing almost 3 billion rubles worth of Gazprom shares, the source went on to say.
"The Russia-based Interpol office has sent a letter to the Interpol’s secretariat following a demand from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, requesting to put William Browder on the Interpol international wanted list. Browder is being charged with embezzlement in huge amounts which the Russian Penal Code classifies as a grave crime,” the Interior Ministry representative said.
It was established that Browder had paid more than two billion rubles to obtain over 131 million shares of the Russian gas giant Gazprom by internal market prices in a period from 1999 to 2004.
"At that time Russian laws required that all foreigners get permission from the Federal Commission for Securities and the Russian government for the acquisition of any shares or buy the so-called American depositary receipts at foreign stock exchanges where their price was much higher,” the Russian Interior Ministry explained.
Investigators believe that Browder set up several legal entities in the territory of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia to carry out unlawful transactions.
"He and a number of unidentified persons opened accounts at Gazprombank’s Depositary center as part of their criminal plan aimed at obtaining Russian securities,” the Russian Interior Ministry said.
Later on, Browder applied for the acquisition of Gazprom shares on behalf of the affiliated companies having concealed the fact that foreign capital accounted for a hundred percent of their authorized funds.
The Russian Interior Ministry said that Browder had concluded at least 30 unlawful deals involving the purchase and sale of Gazprom’s shares and had caused at least 2.9 billion rubles worth of damage to Russia.