Patterico's Pontifications

9/20/2017

The Magnitsky Act and the Woman Who Met with Trump Jr.: Part Three of a Six-Part Series

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:00 am

This is Part Three of a six-part series on the death of Sergei Magnitsky, what he uncovered before his death, and how it all relates to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian woman who met with Trump Jr., Manafort, and Jared Kushner in June 2016. The springboard for the series of posts is this Michael Weiss article about Veselnitskaya and how she is connected to the Magnitsky case.

In Part One, I introduced the series and Weiss’s conclusions.

In Part Two, I began setting forth the background of the aggressive tax fraud scheme that Sergei Magnitsky discovered, as set out in Browder’s book Red Notice.

Today, in Part Three, I will discuss what Magnitsky did — and the terrible price he paid as a result.

MAGNITSKY’S PATRIOTIC REPORTING OF THE SCHEME, AND HIS MURDER

Yesterday, I discussed how Sergei Magnitsky had uncovered a $230 million tax refund fraud scheme perpetrated by a group including officers Artem Kuznetsov and Pavel Karpov.

What does a patriotic Russian do when he discovers such a thing? He reports it. So, after discovering the fraud, Magnitsky went to an Investigative Committee to give evidence against Kuznetsov and Karpov. Trouble was, Kuznetsov and Karpov had been assigned to investigate themselves. Magnitsky gave the evidence to officials anyway, despite the involvement of the suspects in the “investigation” of their own misconduct.

Naively, Magnitsky and Browder still expected the criminals to be caught and punished. But Karpov and Kuznetsov opened up a new case against Browder, and conducted a new set of raids on companies connected to Browder. A well-placed anonymous whistleblower in the Russian government tipped off Browder that the investigation against him was being conducted by the highest levels inside the FSB. So Browder told all his associates and lawyers that they should leave Russia.

Magnitsky was the only one who refused to leave. His position was that he had done nothing wrong. Why should he leave home? He continued to provide evidence against Kuznetsov and Karpov to the Russian State Investigative Committee.

Magnitsky was later arrested by Kuznetsov and Karpov, and was brutally tortured and murdered while in custody. Browder described what happened to Magnitsky in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Sergei’s captors immediately started putting pressure on him to withdraw his testimony. They put him in cells with 14 inmates and eight beds, leaving the lights on 24 hours a day to impose sleep deprivation. They put him in cells with no heat and no windowpanes, and he nearly froze to death. They put him in cells with no toilet, just a hole in the floor and sewage bubbling up. They moved him from cell to cell in the middle of the night without any warning. During his 358 days in detention he was forcibly moved multiple times.

They did all of this because they wanted him to withdraw his testimony against the corrupt Interior Ministry officials, and to sign a false statement that he was the one who stole the $230 million—and that he had done so on my instruction.

Sergei refused. In spite of the grave pain they inflicted upon him, he would not perjure himself or bear false witness.

After six months of this mistreatment, Sergei’s health seriously deteriorated. He developed severe abdominal pains, he lost 40 pounds, and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and gallstones and prescribed an operation for August 2009. However, the operation never occurred. A week before he was due to have surgery, he was moved to a maximum security prison called Butyrka, which is considered to be one of the harshest prisons in Russia. Most significantly for Sergei, there were no medical facilities there to treat his medical conditions.

At Butyrka, his health completely broke down. He was in agonizing pain. He and his lawyers wrote 20 desperate requests for medical attention, filing them with every branch of the Russian criminal justice system. All of those requests were either ignored or explicitly denied in writing.

After more than three months of untreated pancreatitis and gallstones, Sergei Magnitsky went into critical condition. The Butyrka authorities did not want to have responsibility for him, so they put him in an ambulance and sent him to another prison that had medical facilities. But when he arrived there, instead of putting him in the emergency room, they put him in an isolation cell, chained him to a bed, and eight riot guards came in and beat him with rubber batons.

That night he was found dead on the cell floor.

Browder responded to Magnitsky’s murder by dedicating his life to finding and punishing the people responsible for Magnitsky’s death. Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which freezes the assets of people identified as being responsible for Magnitsky’s murder.

Tomorrow, in Part Four, I’ll discuss the reaction of the Russian government to the Magnitsky Act, and why they hate it so much.

[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]

63 Responses to “The Magnitsky Act and the Woman Who Met with Trump Jr.: Part Three of a Six-Part Series”

  1. Maybe Obama was not totally clueless in misunderestimating Russia as a threat to the United States. Government officials looting the nation’s treasury is not world power level. It’s banana republic level.

    nk (dbc370)

  2. 1.Maybe Obama was not totally clueless in misunderestimating Russia as a threat to the United States.

    He sure made a point of ridiculing Romney for saying they were a threat.

    harkin (9803a7)

  3. It is odd — all the coercive force of the government being brought to bear on protecting a couple of folks involved in an audacious defrauding of that same government.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  4. Magnitsky was the only one who refused to leave. His position was that he had done nothing wrong. Why should he leave home?

    Because Putin was not an honest person – and he had also plotted the murder of afew people along the way, although Magnitsky might not know that, but he should have after November, 2006 – after the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium (that could only come from highly protected government sources.)

    And the other reason he stayed was that Russia still had the forms of a democracy and a state where the rule of law existed – much more so than in Commmunist times. He maybe had hopes of forcin the system to work, amd he may have thought the threats were bluffs.

    But they might have been real warnings by people on the inside who didn’t want to see other people killed. It happens in the beginnings of a period of dictatorship. Although Russia is not moving full out into openly declared dictatorship – theer are still elections, except that, unless something changes in the middle, nobody but Putin or someone Putin wants has any chance.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  5. But when he arrived there, instead of putting him in the emergency room, they put him in an isolation cell, chained him to a bed, and eight riot guards came in and beat him with rubber batons.

    how do we know this? It’s very specific.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  6. 3. Appalled (d07ae6) — 9/20/2017 @ 11:02 am

    It is odd — all the coercive force of the government being brought to bear on protecting a couple of folks involved in an audacious defrauding of that same government.

    Well, you see there might be some other people involved too, or the guilty parties might be involved in,or connected to, other things whose trail led somewhere that somebody didn’t want anyone to follow.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  7. no, it’s quite typical, khodokorsky, was dispossessed of Yukos, and jailed for a spell, berezobsky might have been killed in London, after he complained about avtovaz’s

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. OBAMA! Natch!

    Now you can retire to happier threads knowing your contribution is consistent.

    Ben burn (762dec)

  9. Horrific Soviet persuasion techniques help remind us Putin is a bloody tyrant.

    Btw..prounounced Majinsky.

    Ben burn (762dec)

  10. Patterico:

    This series is on fire and your regulars are halon gassy.

    Ben burn (762dec)

  11. And though I’m no Olivier / If he fought Sugar Ray / He would say / That the thing ain’t the ring, it’s the play. / So give me a… stage / Where this bull here can rage / And though I could fight / I’d much rather recite /… that’s entertainment.”

    Jake LaMotta – RIP

    harkin (846534)

  12. Really? A bust-knuckel thug has gravitas over the subject matter? How deeply respectful.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  13. God forbid anyone ever posts a quote or an RIP in here…..

    The thought police have spoken.

    harkin (846534)

  14. Its a little like that scene in shooter, where bobby lee presents evidence of malfeasance by the senator and the spymaster.

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. Try addressing the subject once before you wander about.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  16. I was thinking Walter Peck in Ghostbusters.

    harkin (846534)

  17. The fear of substance doth make cowards of y’all.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  18. Good Lord, the whole aquarium got jumped over by Fonzie…and I wasn’t an instant blocker.

    urbanleftbehind (8301f0)

  19. 18

    A fish called Wanda made a bigger kerfluffle.

    Ben burn (b3d5ab)

  20. This is a terrific series, Patterico. Thank you.

    DRJ (15874d)

  21. By the way, you make writing like this look easy because it is so easy to read and understand, but I know it’s not easy. Kudos to you on excellent writing.

    DRJ (15874d)

  22. In China stories like this happen constantly. They have all kinds of laws on paper, but in the end you get what you want or don’t depending on who your friends are and how happy you can make them. Doing business in China is not for people who don’t have someone on the ground to fix things for them.

    Chen Guangchen risked his life this way for years, defending people from the government by using the government’s laws. Fortunately for himself he escaped, but less fortunately for those left behind.

    Frederick (64d4e1)

  23. R.I.P. Jake LaMotta.

    De Niro My God To Thee.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  24. This is a terrific series, Patterico. Thank you.

    we’re very near the mid-point of this series

    picture a number line:

    1 2 3 4 5 6

    we’re now somewhere between the third part and the fourth part, meaning we’ve now consumed exactly the same amount of series as what will be forthcoming

    there’s an elegant symmetry in this

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  25. It’s actually kind of horrific, and it becomes even more so when you consider that these gangsters control around 6,000 nuclear warheads.

    nk (dbc370)

  26. Specially when you consider where that nunn Luger money designated fir dismantling actually went. The soviet’s built rocket mans young byon reactor after a forty year interval, they supplied the the the umdh fuel, the prototypes from the hwasong missiles. Which can hit targets like the naval station in Singapore. Just like china provided the fuel from lop nor for aq khans kahuta reactorsm

    narciso (d1f714)

  27. This is a terrific series, Patterico. Thank you.

    By the way, you make writing like this look easy because it is so easy to read and understand, but I know it’s not easy. Kudos to you on excellent writing.

    Thank you very much. A blogger goes into a series like this knowing that the posts will generate little interest, and few clicks or comments. Comments like yours go a long way toward making these efforts feel worthwhile.

    Also nice was this tweet from Bill Browder regarding yesterday’s entry (RedState version):

    Patterico (115b1f)

  28. happyfeet gets a starring role in Part Six. Something (for his critics) to look forward to.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  29. 23 – “R.I.P. Jake LaMotta.
    De Niro My God To Thee.”

    12 – “Really? A bust-knuckel thug has gravitas over the subject matter? How deeply respectful.”

    So pure.

    harkin (166824)

  30. i’m a superstar yeah that’s what i are you know it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  31. An interesting question, on which I haven’t yet made up my own mind, is what considerations ought be considered by Congress and the POTUS regarding legislation like the Magnitsky Act. Perhaps you’ll weigh in on that in your next update. I’ve ordered Browder’s book on your recommendation, and I’m inclined to be sympathetic to the notion that American foreign policy can and should include naming, shaming, and sanctioning individual bad actors in addition to the governments that protect them. But I also see potentials for misuse and abuse, and a need for clearly debated and resolved principles here.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  32. I did a little interneting and found this:

    Most famously, Hermitage [that’s Bill Browder’s company] has helped to expose several high-profile cases of corruption in Russia’s largest company Gazprom between 1998 and 2000. In October 2000, Hermitage reported that “investors are valuing this company as if 99 percent of its assets have been stolen. The real figure is around 10 percent so that’s good news.”

    Heh!

    nk (dbc370)

  33. “what considerations ought be considered” <– I blush

    Beldar (fa637a)

  34. An interesting question, on which I haven’t yet made up my own mind, is what considerations ought be considered by Congress and the POTUS regarding legislation like the Magnitsky Act. Perhaps you’ll weigh in on that in your next update. I’ve ordered Browder’s book on your recommendation, and I’m inclined to be sympathetic to the notion that American foreign policy can and should include naming, shaming, and sanctioning individual bad actors in addition to the governments that protect them. But I also see potentials for misuse and abuse, and a need for clearly debated and resolved principles here.

    Interesting question. It’s not part of the series but perhaps it is grounds for discussion after the series is over.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  35. i’m a superstar yeah that’s what i are you know it

    A little advice: I’d be careful about links that rely on folks like Jack Posobiec.

    I don’t name you in Part Six. I merely shame you.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  36. Senators have pressed the Trump Administration to review the chances of Russia’s Rosneft acquiring Venezuela’s PDVSA and its U.S. business, Citgo. Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez believe a change in the ownership of Citgo’s assets would constitute a security risk, Reuters reported.

    Marco Rubio’s a nutball, and a deeply unserious little man

    Citgo employs thousands of Americans, mostly in shiny cherry-red states like Texas and Oklahoma

    Venezuela are collapsing, and Citgo is a valuable bridge what will join America with the country what rises from Venezuela’s devastation

    Our refineries are already tooled for Venezuela’s decidedly ghetto variety of crude, and so Venezuela represents oil security for this hemisphere, and a valuable market for our own petrochemicals as well

    Factbox: What the United States supplies to Venezuela’s PDVSA: diluents and fuels

    The South American country this year has imported an average of 87,000 barrels per day (bpd) of U.S. refined products and about 19,000 bpd of light crude through a leased storage facility in the neighboring island of Curacao, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    this is obviously a fact because it’s in the factbox!

    why does Marco Rubio hate American jobs and American exports?

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  37. Thanks for the series.
    Just ordered the book by B.B.
    Will be doing some book reading in the next month or so. had knee replacement.

    mg (21de20)

  38. ugh i did a Posobiec?

    i have a cold i’m not 100% this week

    now i have to google who this person is and see what linkers i did

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  39. he’s from Pennsylvania just like Aryan Goddess Taylor Swift

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  40. Re our host’s comments @ #27, which read:

    A blogger goes into a series like this knowing that the posts will generate little interest, and few clicks or comments. Comments like yours [DRJ’s] go a long way toward making these efforts feel worthwhile.

    When I was in high school, I had maybe the best job of any small town west Texas kid: I was a radio DJ at KPET-AM, 690 on your AM dial if you were within about 45 miles of Lamesa, Texas, during daylight hours when we were allowed to broadcast at our full rated power, which wouldn’t go farther unless atop obscure mineral deposits in some hills and valleys that had higher conductivity. DRJ wouldn’t have been able to hear me without driving about 30 miles in the direction of Andrews. On weekday evenings, I’d often run the 4pm (after-school) to 8pm show playing our regular country-western programming, intermixed with the occasional Texas Rangers baseball game. But most nights, from 8pm to 10pm, I’d give way to a very capable and energetic Tejano DJ, who’d play Tejano music that I liked but couldn’t possibly DJ for. Then I’d re-take the mic from 10pm to midnight.

    Lamesa was and is a farming community, and people tend to go to bed there early to be up at dawn, when it’s cool atop a tractor plowing the cotton fields. (In the summertime, I “turned on” the station at 6:00 a.m., which most local farmers used as their alarm clock, making it absolutely imperative that I never, ever, even once be late by a moment in turning on the station, which meant that I got up at 4:00 a.m. those mornings. Still a killer high school job.)

    During those hours between 10:00 p.m. and midnight, I often doubted that I had very many listeners at all. More than once, after talking into that mic for hours without any response — no giggles, no smiles, no indication that my jokes or my music selections had been appreciated — I’d wonder if even a single person in Dawson County was still listening.

    “A free LP album to the sixth caller!” I’d announce. And wait five minutes. And then, after the phone hadn’t rung at all yet, I’d say, in case anyone was still listening: “Hold your calls, we have a winner! I’ll be making arrangements for him [or her] to pick up her free new LP album during business hours at KPET tomorrow!”

    Patrick, by sharp contrast to my days at KPET, I can assure you that you are never just a voice in the vacuum. And you don’t even need to pretend to give away free LP albums.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  41. The one part I don’t understand is why Russia retaliating by barring the adoption of Russian children by Americans is significant. “No problem, Russkies, raise your unwanted kids yourselves, then.”

    nk (dbc370)

  42. Did you try playing Bob Wills during the contest?

    mg (21de20)

  43. Russian media had been exploiting a lot of “ugly americans mistreat our babies” anecdotal stuff, anecdotes what were mostly true, and were putting a heavily nationalistic spin on the ball as well

    so i think the adoption ban was a kill 2 birds with one stone thing

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. Bob Wills is still the king, mg, even if no one is awake to hear him, so yes.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  45. Otoh, pdvsa fired every competent oil roughneck and or manager, rosneft thanks to that
    sweet deal with mark richs firm glencore will not have problem hiring talent. Harvey wee a close call for the regime because gulf refineries are the only ones who can handle the daffy fudge sulfurous concoction

    narciso (d1f714)

  46. ok i’ll for sure read #6 i can’t figure out the clue about Mr. Posobiec

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  47. it’s a risky investment Mr. narciso

    if Russia wants to gamble at the craps table for to benefit American jobs and exports that’s super and also duper i think

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  48. Love that Texas Swing.

    mg (21de20)

  49. West Texas Swing

    mg (21de20)

  50. @ nk, who asked (#42):

    The one part I don’t understand is why Russia retaliating by barring the adoption of Russian children by Americans is significant.

    I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I’ll bet that that is the perfect set-up question for Part Four.

    (Sly dog.)

    Beldar (fa637a)

  51. These events happened in 2008-09, at the tail end of w’s ‘look into volodyas heart’ not long after that big money flowed from renaissance. Capital into bill clintons bank accounts also the Atlantic council had a fond familiarity with the ruble at that time, as was HSBC which is the worlds maytag.
    As a result rusatim acquired uranium one, a hacker cell was able to hack the exchanges in at least two states,

    narciso (d1f714)

  52. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I’ll bet that that is the perfect set-up question for Part Four.

    (Sly dog.)

    You sly dog indeed! Do you have access to my editing screen?!?! It’s like you read Part Four already!

    Sure, there was a hint at the end of my post . . . but still. Good call.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  53. Now I would prefer that mire efforts be dine in this hemisphere, but I’m patient, nit so much with re the Iran deal, where mattis and tillerson still seem to be form

    narciso (d1f714)

  54. Haley has been looking out for Americans first. Unlike the rest of Trumps chumps.
    I think she has been his best pick.

    mg (21de20)

  55. Was broader really surprizrd by this, he must have heard about this felliw:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/how-boris-berezovsky-made-vladimir-putin-and-putin-unmade-berezovsky

    narciso (d1f714)

  56. Saw an expose’ must be at least 15 years ago where Russians were allowing Americans to adopt Russian children after paying a hefty sum and adoptive parents finding out when kids arrived they had severe mental issues. They were basically charging Americans to take special needs kids off their hands.

    harkin (166824)

  57. What a horrible story. Thank you for this series.

    felipe (023cc9)

  58. I’ll give Trump due credit for the Rocket Man riff, mg, and Haley seemed to think that was pretty appropriate. I agree with you that she’s done herself and her boss credit so far. She is a natural retail politician, almost the inverse of Shrillery in that respect. She’s probably also glad to be based in NY instead of Washington, with a bit of distance.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  59. She seems to be the only professional around. Agree – she likes the mileage between NYC and d.c.

    mg (21de20)

  60. This reads like a thriller from Martin Cruz Smith. We tend to think this kind of behavior ended with the end of East Germany and their Stasi. If anything, the modern totalitarian state is even more skilled and more frightening.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  61. Wolves Eat Dogs.

    nk (dbc370)


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