Businessman Bill Browder, Putin critic, briefly detained on expired Russian "warrant"

By On May 30, 2018

Businessman Bill Browder, Putin critic, briefly detained on expired Russian "warrant"

CBSN
×
  • Trending Videos CBSN Live »
  • CBS This Morning

    Bill Browder on past dealings with Russian lawyer ...

  • CBS Evening News

    ABC cancels "Roseanne"

  • 60 Minutes: Segment Extras

    Erin Fein on her time with Ken Friedman

  • CBS Evening News

    Upcoming summit with North Korea

  • CBS Evening News

    Missouri Gov. Greitens resigns

  • CBS Evening News

    Body of man swept away found

  • CBS Evening News

    Lava threatening homes in Hawaii

  • CBS Evening News

    Active shooter drills for teachers

  • CBS Evening News

    Jesse Duplantis asking for private jet

  • CBS Evening News

    Lemonade stand makes a difference

  • CBS Evening News

    Arizona teacher on active shooter drills

  • World

    Officials say "terrorist" killed 4th person before Belgium attack

  • World

    Explosions, gunfire at key Afghan gov't compound

  • World

    Putin critic Bill Browder tweets brief detention on Russian "warrant"

  • World

    Russian journalist fatally shot in Ukrainian capital

  • World

    Prison inmate kills 3 with guns of stabbed police officers

  • World

    Who is Kim Yong Chol, top North Korean official headed to New York?

  • World

    U.S. Navy: Chinese warships made "unprofessional" maneuver

  • World

    Israeli jets bomb Gaza after more than 25 mortar shells fired from strip

  • World

    Ebola vaccinations begin in Congo's northwest town of Bikoro

  • World

    Soccer star defends assault gun tattoo, reveals its "deeper meaning"

  • World

    4-year hunt for missing Flight MH370 ends

  • World

    Diplomatic flurry in bid to revive Trump-Kim summit

Businessman Bill Browder, who was once the biggest foreign investor in Russia but has become a vocal critic of the country and clashed with President Vladimir Putin's government, said Wednesday that he was detained briefly in Spain on a Russian arrest warrant. Browder, an American-born financier based in the U.K., has said Putin directly orchestrated a Kremlin attempt to influence the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016. He tweeted on Wednesday morning that he'd been arrested on an Interpol warrant, but the international law enforcement agency denied involvement.

"Just was arrested by Spanish police in Madrid on a Russian Interpol arrest warrant. Going to the police station right now," Browder said on Twitter, adding that the police would not tell him which station he was being taken to. He posted a photo taken from the back of the police car.

Not long after the tweets, the Spanish police told The Associated Press and Reuters news agencies that Browder was not under arrest, had been released from a station in Madrid, and appeared to have been picked up on an expired warrant.

Browder himself then re-emerged on Twitter, confirming his release to followers and accusing Russia of having "abused" Interpol for a sixth time in efforts to have him arrested.

A spokesperson at the Interpol Press office told CBS News earlier on Wednesday that, "Browder has never been put on a Interpol Red notice, there have been requests made in the past, but he has never been on any Interpol Red Notice." The spokesperson denied that Browder was even in the agency's data base.

  • Bill Browder cleared for U.S. travel after claiming Russia interference

Interpol referred questions about Browder's detention to the Spanish authorities.

Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, has become a major antagonist to the Kremlin in recent years, routinely criticizing Vladimir Putin's government for silencing critics and highlighting the alarming rate at which journalists have been attacked in the country. He has also challenged Moscow's flat denial of efforts to meddle in the 2016 election process.

Last summer, as President Trump defend his oldest son for meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower during the campaign, Browder told "CBS This Morning" that Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. in June 2016, "was taking money from a Russian oligarch, who is close to Putin, to try to overturn the Magnitsky Act."

Trump Jr. has said the meeting was primarily about the Magnitsky Act. The U.S. law, passed in 2012, imposes economic sanctions and tr avel restrictions on Russians named as human rights abusers.

The act is named after Russian tax attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who worked to expose corruption among people linked to the Kremlin. He died in 2009 while being held in a Russian prison. The Russian government says the cause of death was heart failure, but many observers believe Magnitsky was murdered, including Browder, whose taxes Magnitsky handled.

Browder was a driving force behind getting the Magnitsky Act enshrined in law in the U.S. He believes it's Putin's No. 1 priority to get the U.S. to lift sanctions under the act, which currently affect 44 Russians.

Veselnitskaya hired Rinat Akhmetshin -- whom Browder described in July 2017 as a "shady former Soviet spy, current spy, Washington operator" -- and organized a full-on lobbying campaign, "hiring the top lobbyists, the top law firms, the top PR firms," to try and get rid of the act.

The Trump family claims nothin g came of the meeting. Then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus called it a "big nothing burger."

"Let's just look at it very simply," Browder told CBS News. "Vladimir Putin wants to get rid of this act that's going to sanction his assets. It's his top priority. He assigns an oligarch to go in and spend all the money to get rid of it. The Russian KBG is not stupid. They want something in return."

"We don't know what happened in that meeting," he continued. "We don't know who said what to whom because you can't trust the Russians, and the Trump people keep changing their story, so, who knows what kind of burger it is."

"They were spending money on every different legal motion they could come up with," he continued. "They were hiring lobbyists left and right and center."

"They were getting Donald Trump Jr., all on behalf of Vladimir Putin, to get rid of the Magnitsky Act," Browder alleged.

When asked if he believed there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to impact the American election, Browder replied: "I have no idea. All I can say is I know the Russian side intimately and I can tell you this was a highly resourced operation to get rid of a piece of legislation that would affect Vladimir Putin personally."

The dispute over the Magnitsky Act sanctions wound up entangling some American families who were seeking to adopt children from Russian orphanages.

"Vladimir Putin was so angry about the Magnitsky Act that he was looking for some type of retaliation," Browder explained. "He couldn't freeze assets or other types of things because the Americans would retaliate against that. And so he came up with the most heartless, vindictive thing he could do, which was Americans were adopting disabled Russian orphans, and he said, 'No, you can't adopt them any more.'"

According to Browder, at that time about 500 American families had met sick babies and children who were "longing to go home to America." Some ended up dying in orphanages because they weren't being treated properly.

Browder also addressed the fact that he's been "threatened on a number of occasions by agents of the Russian government."

"I do fear for my life," he said.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Featured in World

  • Best of the 2018 Winter Olympics: Week 2

    Olympic moments to remember from Pyeongchang, South Korea

  • Best of the 2018 Winter Olympics: Week 1

    From on-the-ice action to silly sideshows, her e are the Olympic moments worth reliving

Popular

CBSN Live

watch

Popular On CBS News

  • 01

    ABC cancels "Roseanne" after Barr's racist tweet

    179417 views
  • 02

    Roseanne Barr apologizes for racist tweet, says she's leaving Twitter

    122355 views
  • 03

    Judge in Brock Turner sexual assault case on whether he'd make same ruling today

    42131 views
  • 04

    Stars react to "Roseanne" cancellation

    27530 views
  • 05

    Prison inmate kills 3 with guns of stabbed police officers

    26025 views

Latest From "60 Minutes"

  • Soldiers dispute "friendly fire" report

  • Raising rhino like cattle

  • How did Google get so big?

  • The Theranos deception

  • Mario Batali and The Spotted Pig

  • A rare look at Pope Francis

  • The medical device that has 100,000 women suing

  • Saving a generation

  • Is shock therapy making a comeback?

  •  Play Video

    ABC cancel s "Roseanne"

  •  Play Video

    Upcoming summit with North Korea

  •  Play Video

    Missouri Gov. Greitens resigns

  •  Play Video

    Body of man swept away found

  •  Play Video

    Lava threatening homes in Hawaii

Previous Next

Popular On CBS News

  • ABC cancels "Roseanne" after Barr 9;s racist tweet

  • Roseanne Barr apologizes for racist tweet, says she's leaving Twitter

  • Judge in Brock Turner sexual assault case on whether he& #039;d make same ruling today

  • Stars react to "Roseanne" cancellation

  • Prison inmate kills 3 with guns of stabbed police officers

  •  24 Photos

    The films that made Harvey Weinstein famous

  •  78 Photos

    Volcanic eruption in Hawaii

  •  26 Photos

    Memorial Day 2018: America honors the fallen

  •  101 Photos

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding

  •  65 Photos

    Notable deaths in 2018

Previous Next

Latest From CBS News

  • Officials say "terrorist" killed 4th person before Belgium att ack

  • Explosions, gunfire at key Afghan gov't compound

  • Former deputy director of Central Intelligence talks about caring for families of CIA's fallen

  • This pumpkin farmer now sees salvation in pot

  • David Copperfield not liable for fan's injuries during show:Jury

  • Putin critic Bill Browder tweets brief detention on Russian "warrant"

New Fire TV App

Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia

Next
« Prev Post
Previous
Next Post »