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The Failing Mafia State

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103
Please join the Harriman Institute and Columbia Law's Center on Global Legal Transformation for a talk by William Browder (Founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management). There will be a reception beginning at 5:30pm in the Jerome Greene Annex followed by the talk at 6:00pm in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103 Respondents: Ian Hague (Co-Founder, Firebird Management) Timothy Frye (Marshall D. Shulman Professor of Post-Soviet Foreign Policy, Columbia University and Director (on leave 2012-2013), Harriman Institute) Moderator: Kimberley Marten (Acting Director, Harriman Institute and Professor of Political Science, Barnard College) William Browder is the Founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management. He was the largest foreign investor in Russia and a Putin supporter until November 2005, when he was suddenly expelled from the country and declared a "threat to national security" by the Russian government. The reasons for these actions remain unclear, but were probably retaliation for Browder's accusations about corruption in large state-controlled firms where he was a minority shareholder. His holdings and employees in Russia came under increasing attack. In 2008 his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, announced his discovery that $230 million in state taxes paid by Hermitage in 2006 had been stolen in a bogus tax refund scheme by a group of Russian officials working with organized criminals. Magnitsky was arrested and imprisoned without trial, accused of perpetrating the fraud himself on behalf of his client, and pressured to confess. Denied medical treatment for his growing health problems despite numerous requests, Magnitsky died in prison after a severe beating in November 2009, at the age of 37. Since then, Browder has led a tireless legal and legislative campaign in the United States and Europe to punish the individuals responsible for Magnitsky's arrest and death. Hermitage today is based in London, where it continues to invest in emerging markets. This event is part of the "Corruption and Patronage" core project. The project examines these issues both within Eurasian societies and comparatively, and asks a provocative question: do corruption and patron/client favoritism always impede progress, or instead are they a way to get things done in societies that lack well institutionalized legal systems? Registration for this event is required.
Categories: Academic: Lecture