MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. The founder of Hermitage Capital Management investment fund, Bill Browder, transmitted large amounts of money to the accounts of the US Democratic Party in order to secure its support, the chief of the media department at the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, Alexander Kurennoi told a news briefing on Tuesday.
He recalled that Browder became the subject of the first criminal case in Russia back in 2004 over economic and tax offenses and other criminal cases followed later, two of which brought on sentences for nine years in jail each and heavy fines.
"In the framework of the agreement on legal assistance that Russia and the US signed in 1999, we’ve sent queries to the relevant US agencies to track down the traffic of monies and Gazprom shares that had been remitted here," Kurennoi said. "We also shared the information on tax and other crimes. Unfortunately, no steps reciprocal steps followed."
"Browder realized that relevant Russian agencies wouldn’t leave him alone just like that and he decided to secure support among the people at the helm of power," he said. "For this purpose, his accomplices remitted large enough monies to the accounts of the Democratic Party. Later on, he used their lobbyism and rammed through the so-called Magnitsky Act that was based on forged information and had no clear proofs."
Kurennoi recalled that Sergei Magnitsky was a financial officer at Browder’s companies and designed the schemes of tax evasion and the illegal transfer of shares, including through offshore zones.
"In a bid to set up a precedent for the future that would help keep Browder’s own offenses out away from public eye, Browder tried to make a ploy of court rulings," he said. "It was then that the Attorney’s Office in New York State opened the procedures and issued charges for the crimes committed by Browder to Russian businessman Denis Katsyv.
"However, Browder himself backtracked on his own words and on the bulk of the evidence he had cited at the very beginning," Kurennoi said. "He failed to prove his own claims, saying he didn’t gather evidence."
As a result, the case went to pieces and the Attorney’s Office of the southern district of New York had to strike an agreement that de facto stated the Russian businessmen were uninvolved. The court confirmed the conclusion.
"It’s notable that officers of US security services took part in the USA vs Previzon Holdings trial," Kurennoi said. "They gave evidence under oath on the data they had received from Browder - the data that did not get any proof."
He added that President Putin spoke precisely about these officers at the news briefing.
"He meant the officers of foreign security services and, to be more precise, the US, the ones who engaged in forming the false evidence of a Russian citizen’s guilt," Kurennoi said. "In addition, they gave patronage to Bill Browder, whom a Russian court issued sentences in absentia to, in his criminal activity."
Last Friday, the US authorities issued charges in absentia to twelve supposed officers of Russian military intelligence as part of an investigation of the alleged external meddling in the 2016 election race in the US.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier this week upon the end of his meeting with Donald Trump in Helsinki special prosecutor Robert Mueller could ask Russia for assistance pursuant on the basis of the 1999 agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal cases.