MOSCOW, June 5 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court has held in favor of the decision to arrest Hermitage Capital fund CEO William Browder, RAPSI reports from the courtroom on Wednesday.
The Tverskoy District Court in Moscow ordered Browder’s arrest, claiming that he has repeatedly failed to appear for questioning. This decision has taken effect, which gives Russian investigators the right to file papers with Interpol to declare Browder wanted.
Lawyer Alexander Antipov appealed the decision, citing violations of the law.
Browder is not hiding and his whereabouts are known to the investigators, he said. Therefore, he cannot qualify as evading Russian justice.
The investigator, in turn, said Browder keeps changing his place of residence and letters addressed to him are constantly returned to the sender. She also criticized the defense attorney’s arguments that the charges brought against Browder have to do with his business activity.
The court ordered Browder’s detention for two months from his possible arrest. Browder is believed to have illegally purchased Gazprom stock when foreign ownership of the world's largest natural gas producer was restricted.
He is also on trial in absentia alongside deceased Sergei Magnitsky for the alleged embezzlement of hundreds of millions of rubles from the federal budget by manipulating tax returns between September and October 2007.
Hermitage Capital maintains that it paid 5.4 billion rubles ($180 million) in taxes, but the money was stolen by corporate raiders with the help of law enforcement officials.
Sergei Magnitsky, who died in pretrial detention in Moscow in 2009, was prosecuted for this theft. The case was closed after his death, only to be reopened later. Under Russian law, a person can be prosecuted after his death.
In March 2013, Browder announced that Hermitage Capital would cease its operations in Russia.