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Russia ready to send request to US over questionings in Browder case

Browder donated $400,000 to US Democrats, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office says

MOSCOW, July 17./TASS/. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office is ready to send a request for the questioning of staffers of US intelligence services and public officers within the framework of a criminal case against Hermitage Capital founder William Browder, prosecutors’ spokesman Alexander Kurennoy told a briefing on Tuesday.

"Within the framework of a probe into a criminal case against William Browder and his criminal group, we are ready to send another request to the US competent agencies for a possibility to question these staffers of US special services, some other public officers of the US and a number of entrepreneurs in order to later charge them with the crimes committed by Browder," Kurennoy said.

Browder has transferred $400,000 to accounts of the US Democratic Party, Kurennoy said.

"Browder’s criminal group funneled $1.5 billion from Russia into tax havens. Of this sum, at least $400 million was transferred to the Democratic Party’s accounts. Afterwards, our president asked us to correct the sum for $400,000 from $400 million," Kurennoi said.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the Russia-US summit in Helsinki that in line with the 1999 agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller might be allowed to interview 12 Russians indicted in the United States. On Friday, the US Justice Department issued an indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers within the framework of the Mueller-led investigation into alleged foreign interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Moscow would raise the question "that the steps should be reciprocal," Putin said mentioning the case of Bill Browder.

"Then we will expect from the American side to interview those officials, including special services agents, who we suspect of committing illegal activities in the Russian Federation, in the United States, in presence of our detectives," he emphasized. "What do I mean? The notorious case of Bill Browder, the founder of the Hermitage Capital Management."

"According to our investigation, a group of persons, who were Mr. Browder’s business partners, earned illegally more than 1.5 billion dollars in Russia. They did not pay any taxes, neither in Russia nor in the United States, but they managed to transfer the money to the United States," Putin said.

They funneled a large sum into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Russian investigators said.

Browder Case

On July 13, 2013, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court found Browder guilty in absentia of large-scale tax evasion estimated at 522 million rubles and sentenced him to nine years in prison. Sergei Magnitsky, Browder’s Russian lawyer, was a suspect in the case and later died in Moscow’s pretrial detention center.

In July 2014, Russia placed Browder on the Interpol’s most wanted list. The Russian Prosecutor General’s office has many times requested Interpol to arrest Browder. The latest news about such a request came in December 2017.