Freezing Order | Bill Browder

Summary of: Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath
By: Bill Browder

Introduction

Dive into the thrilling world of Freezing Order, where you’ll uncover the true story of money laundering, murder, and surviving Vladimir Putin’s wrath. Gain insight into how American-born Bill Browder moved to Moscow and launched a highly successful hedge fund, only to eventually face the dangerous consequences of exposing corruption in Russia. This gripping account will take you on a journey through the political and financial systems of a nation under the iron rule of Putin, and the lengths that authorities went in pursuing those who dared to challenge the status quo. As this powerful narrative unfolds, you’ll witness the personal sacrifices made by Browder and his allies in their quest for international sanctions, justice, and ultimately, survival.

The Perils of Exposing Corruption in Russia

This is the story of Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager who found success in Russia by exposing corruption in the country’s businesses. However, as Vladimir Putin gained power, this approach became unacceptable, and Browder was expelled from Russia. Russian authorities seized his former companies and claimed $230 million in bogus tax refunds. Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested after he exposed the tax fraud scheme and died while in custody. This book highlights the dangers of speaking out against corruption in Putin’s Russia.

Seeking Justice: A Story of Friendship, Corruption, and Tragedy

When his friend and lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was killed for exposing corruption in Russia, Bill Browder embarked on a quest for justice through international sanctions against corrupt Russians. With the help of investment analyst Vadim Kleiner and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, Browder traced Russian money laundering and uncovered the tax fraud that led to Magnitsky’s death. The courage of Nemtsov and the tenacity of Kleiner and Browder, despite immense pressure and violent threats, exposed the corruption within the Russian government and led to global sanctions against its officials.

Browder’s Escape from Russian Arrest

In the spring of 2018, Bill Browder was arrested in Madrid by Spanish authorities on the request of Russia via Interpol, on false criminal charges. Browder took to Twitter, and through the buzz generated, attracted the attention of the Interpol general secretariat, resulting in his quick release. Despite his escape, Browder was constantly paranoid of being arrested by well-meaning police who are acting on Russian arrest orders. In 2012, when he pitched the Magnitsky Act at a human rights conference in Monaco, Browder declined staying in the country as he feared being extracted to Russia. During the conference, a Russian woman enticed him with several messages to meet up at his hotel – this was an obvious “honey trap” by Putin’s operatives. Browder’s story highlights Russia’s questionable tactics to silence opposition and the lengths one man went to fight back.

Browder’s Pursuit of Justice

This summary follows William Browder’s journey to hold Russian entities accountable for the crime and corruption surrounding the death of his colleague, Sergei Magnitsky. After lobbying for a law in the US that imposed sanctions on Russian officials, Putin retaliated by forbidding Americans from adopting Russian orphans, leaving severely ill children without access to adequate healthcare. Browder’s team continued to investigate the $230 million tax refund and discovered that $20 million was laundered in New York, leading to federal criminal charges against the Russian entity that owned the assets. This led to threats against Browder, leading him to vary his routines and hire bodyguards. Browder’s efforts to bring justice has gained him media attention, but also put his safety at risk.

Nemtsov’s Assassination and Putin’s Operation

The book discusses the challenges of convincing European officials to crack down on Russian money laundering, and the Kremlin’s relentless attacks on associates of Bill Browder, the man who championed the Magnitsky Act. The book also highlights the assassination of prominent Russian insider turned dissident, Nemtsov, and the suspicious activity surrounding his murder. The author believes that Putin had ordered Nemtsov’s assassination, which created a stir, compelling the Russian authorities to frame a group of Chechens for the crime. The crime scene displayed characteristics of a Putin operation, with security cameras in the region turned off, except for one that was blocked by a snow plow at the right time, and a street cleaner that hosed down the crime scene immediately after the murder.

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