Davos, Switzerland – World Economic Forum
William Browder of Hermitage Capital was one of the biggest foreign investors in Russia and a vocal anti-corruption campaigner. He was expelled from Moscow in 2005. His offices were raided in 2007. Subsequently his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky was arrested. Browder said that Magnitsky was tortured for 358 days and ultimately killed in prison. Magnitsky uncovered $230 million in tax money Browder’s company had paid to the state, but which was ultimately stolen, according to Browder, by tax police who kept the money in bank accounts in places like Switzerland
Browder said that he is in Davos to learn more about the global investment environment. But he uses this high profile venue to lobby for action in Magnitsky’s case and to campaign against corruption in Russia.
Andrei Kostin, Chairman and CEO of VTB Bank, said that corruption and bureaucracy are much worse evils today than organised crimes in Russia. He added that he did a lot of business in China, and it was not much better there. Kostin said these problems were unavoidable in emerging markets. A combination of carrot and stick need to be employed in Russia to eliminate these problems once and for all. Bureaucrats should get better pay, he added.