Zdravstvuj Crimeziners! And a triple word score to you all! For it is from that free market paradise formally known as the USSR that we bring you today’s special edition of Crimezine the world’s favorite crime blog.
Our Russian friends, or more especially Russki Capo di tutti capi, Vlad-it-wasn’t-me-who murdered-those-dissidents-honest-Putin, are never far from the news these days. Whether it is poisoned sushi that is to blame, a “careless” fall from a balcony window, or a car door handle liberally covered in a lethal nuclear isotope, you can be sure the bare-chested, tiger-wrassling Vlad is never far from the news media podium, to offer one of his famous pokerfaced denials of malfeasance.
“Former” KGB goon Putin has upped his game substantially in recent years, using his trademarked totalitarian newspeak to explain away the shooting down of holiday airliner MH17, the invasion of the Ukraine, and the brutal murder of leading opposition figure Boris Nemetsov.
But it is perhaps one of Putin’s least understood achievements that concerns us today. Following the fall of the Soviet Union and the breathless rush to the free market transition that followed, the Russian government started selling major assets, such as oil companies and other state-owned industries, at yard sale prices. Many were bought by a handful of well-connected oligarchs who became the world’s new super rich.
Enter Stanford educated Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, an Investment management maverick, who figured how to buy into the assets of the new Russia and make billions in the process. Red Notice is the book that details How Browder made the transition from a down on his heels corporate investor into an international financial superstar and fell victim to the world’s greatest criminal conspiracies as a result.
Browder’s capitalist dream became a nightmare when—Vlad-it’s-a-nice-day-in-the gulags-today-Putin’s meteoric rise to power put the breaks on foreign investment. Oligarchs fled in fear of their lives and the full police-state machinery of the new Russia was turned to the purpose of swindling foreign investors.
Forget about the Ocean’s Eleven robbing the Bellagio Casino, or Goldfinger cornering the market in world gold. This crime was bigger, way bigger. In the scramble to claw back control from foreigners the Russians “redistributed” assets from companies they had already sold, effectively stealing entire oil and gas fields from Western investors—assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Bill Browder became persona non grata of course. Worse than that, the Putin police state now viewed him as an enemy and treated him accordingly. Red Notice is the story of the merciless treatment Browder recieved—A story where we meet an endless parade of corrupt cops, bent judges, secret agent assassins and vile politicians, as they scramble to ruin and discredit our hero.
At the time of writing Browder is still breathing. But the book makes it clear that he is a marked man. Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was not so lucky. His attempt to represent Browder and expose corruption in the Putin Government caused him to be brutally murdered. Sergei Magnitsky’s story is outlined in detail in this book. This is a touching, dynamic, and widely acclaimed account of the Browder story that will thrill and surprise you, as it outlines the crime of the century. But more than that, this book will enlighten you to the true nature of Vladimir Putin and the new Russia.