Brow­der urges EU min­is­ters to hon­our Mag­nit­sky name

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

KREM­LIN critic Bill Brow­der is cam­paign­ing to stop his mur­dered lawyer’s name from be­ing deleted as EU politi­cians dis­cuss the in­tro­duc­tion of their own ver­sion of the so-called Mag­nit­sky Act.

Mr Brow­der, the hedge fund man­ager who has spent a decade fight­ing to un­cover Rus­sian money laun­der­ing, is con­cerned the sanc­tions law be­ing dis­cussed by EU for­eign min­is­ters has made no ref­er­ence to Sergei Mag­nit­sky, de­spite be­ing based on the Mag­nit­sky Act, which has been passed in six other coun­tries. Mr Mag­nit­sky died in a Rus­sian prison a year af­ter un­cov­er­ing a ma­jor $230m (£180m) tax fraud.

“This is ex­actly the same as the Mag­nit­sky Act, and the pro­posal was di­rectly the re­sult of the Dutch parliament call­ing for a Mag­nit­sky Act.

“If the name is dropped, it’s go­ing to cause se­ri­ous prob­lems for every­body try­ing to drop [it],” Mr Brow­der said. “It will be po­lit­i­cally and morally hard to delete Sergei Mag­nit­sky’s name from his­tory.” Mr Brow­der has ramped up his cam­paign for an Eu-wide Mag­nit­sky Act to get the green­light ahead of the Euro­pean Parliament’s meeting to dis­cuss the pro­posal to­mor­row.

Sixty-four politi­cians from 20 EU coun­tries have backed the move and urged Euro­pean min­is­ters to “hon­our Mag­nit­sky in name”. The Mag­nit­sky Act, first en­acted in the US, al­lows coun­tries to im­pose sanc­tions on cor­rupt of­fi­cials in­volved in hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

“The gang­sters keep their loot in the South of France and [Lon­don’s] Ea­ton Square, so an Eu-spe­cific one would be dev­as­tat­ing for crooks in Rus­sia and else­where,” added Mr Brow­der.

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