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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4850 on: November 24, 2018, 03:23:22 AM »

Neven, that's vague.

Can you be specific about what your opinion is about that documentary, and which "billionaires" you are talking about here ?

My opinion is that there are many inconsistencies in Browder's story...
But a billionaire, who made his billions in corrupt Russia, almost single-handedly revives the Cold War. That is fishy, even without the inconsistencies in the narrative.

Ah. So with the "billionaires" that were "above the law" you actually meant Browders himself, and not the Russian corporate crooks that raided his company and got Magnitsky killed ?
Are you serious ?

Also, what makes you think Browder is a billionaire ?
Most estimates I find seem to be between $3 and $20 million for his net worth.

And finally why do you state that he is "almost single-handedly revives the Cold War" ?
That's amazing if one man could actually do that, so I await your more elaborated answer on that one.

Meanwhile, it looks like he continues to do what he did before Magnitsky got killed :
To hold corrupt officials accountable in Russia, and now with the Magnitsky Act, all around the world.
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Martin Gisser

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4851 on: November 24, 2018, 04:01:33 AM »
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4852 on: November 24, 2018, 04:04:32 AM »
For people not very familiar with the corporate raiding of Hermitage, the subsequent $230 million tax scam (the largest in Russian history) and the story of Magnitsky, please watch this video, which was published about a month before Magnitsky died in prison :



Still curious which "inconsistencies" in this story Neven is talking about.

Also, I'm shocked that Neven is pulling the Kremlin line on this one.

Neven believes that "I wouldn't rule it out. That Browder is a nasty piece of work," to the Kremlin allegation that Browder had ordered the murder of Magnitsky himself.

Even though the Kremlin just started venting this narrative last week, 10 years after Magnitsky's death in a Russian prison....

Watch the video..
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4853 on: November 24, 2018, 07:34:37 AM »
Lies of Nekrasov-Piraya anti-Magnitsky “Documentary”
http://russian-untouchables.com/docs/Nekrasov%20Lies%20Presentaion%20June%20(ENG)%20NEW%20JUNE%202016%20v%202.pdf


Thank you Martin.
That presentation contains many, many clarifying references in the Magnitsky case.

I'm curious how many references Neven (or Hefaistos, or Red or the two Lurks, or Terry or Zizek) can produce that show "inconsistencies" in that evidence.

So far : zero.
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4854 on: November 24, 2018, 12:44:00 PM »
Martin, lots of circular reasoning in the link you posted. This organisation says this, that organisation says that, and so Browder is correct. Who did they get it from? Browder.

Putin said Magnitsky was a lawyer! So, Putin got it wrong too. The guy was an accountant who worked for Browder's companies for many years to help with (il)legal tax evasion, not a top-notch lawyer that Browder hired to look into the strange things connected to the 230 million fraud.

Yes, there's a lot of corruption in Russia and Browder was happy to profit from it for years (effectively stealing from the Russian people with his oligarch buddies).

Why don't you guys watch the documentary first?
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gerontocrat

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4855 on: November 24, 2018, 01:11:49 PM »
London house prices in the swankiest parts of town continue to fall. It has become less comfortable for the oligarchs and their cohorts. The authorities now want to know where the money has come from. How dare they!

ps: Also applies to slimebags of other nationalities if they haven't used a good laundry.
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4856 on: November 24, 2018, 02:56:33 PM »
Also, what makes you think Browder is a billionaire ?
Most estimates I find seem to be between $3 and $20 million for his net worth.

In this link here it says he's worth 4.3 million dollars, but further down in the text it says:

Quote
The 54-year-old financer summoned the majority of his net worth from his investment company named Hermitage Capital Management since 1996. He is the co-founder of the finance company along with his partner, Edmond Sarfa and between the year 1995 until 2006 their firm was one of the largest foreign investors in Russia.

The Investor amassed millions of fortunes form his management of the finance company. He reportedly earned £125–150 million as his profit share for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007. Apart from his soaring wealth, Bill is noted to one of the harsh critics of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

I'd be interested to know how one goes from being one of the largest foreign investors in oligarchic Russia to owning 'just' 4.3 million. Did Russia freeze his assets or something?

Elsewhere it says:

Quote
Although he made his fortune in business, Bill Browder, whose net worth is estimated in the several billion dollars, hails from a family with ties to the American Communist Party.

Not very convincing, speculative.

The Wikipedia entry on Browder has this:

Quote
In 1999, Avisma filed a RICO lawsuit against Browder and other Avisma investors including Kenneth Dart, alleging they illegally siphoned company assets into offshore accounts and then transferred the funds to U.S. accounts at Barclays. Browder and his co-defendants settled with Avisma in 2000; they sold their Avisma shares as part of the confidential settlement agreement.[23]

In 1995–2006 Hermitage Capital Management was one of the largest foreign investors in Russia,[24] and Browder amassed millions through his management of the fund. In both 2006 and 2007, he earned an estimated £125–150 million.[25][26]

In March 2013, HSBC, a bank that serves as the trustee and manager of Hermitage Capital Management, announced that it would end the fund's operations in Russia. The decision was taken amid two legal cases against Browder: a libel court case in London and a trial in absentia for tax evasion in Moscow.[27]

In June 2018, HSBC reached a settlement with the Russian government to pay a £17 million fine to Russian authorities for its part in alleged tax avoidance.[28][29]

One of those Wiki links lead to:

Quote
Bill Browder, of Hermitage Capital Management, earned the accolade of 'nerviest trader on the list' after the 42-year-old steered a £2bn fund to gains of 38% on Russian energy bets.

Browder, who set up Hermitage in 1996 and is based between London and Moscow, earned an estimated £125m to £150m last year.

Energy bets? Nice! But Magnitsky's tragic death turned him into a human rights activist. Yeah, right.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 03:20:04 PM by Neven »
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4857 on: November 24, 2018, 03:59:17 PM »
Just to continue on the hedge-funds-manager-turned-human-rights-activist-fairytale, here's a New Republic article from three years ago (considered a pretty reliable source, I think). I hope Rob and Martin won't disagree too much with the title and then refuse to read the rest:

Quote
Fighting Putin Doesn’t Make You a Saint

Hedge fund star Bill Browder has been a strident anti-Putin voice. But why won't he testify about Russian wrongdoing?

By JASON MOTLAGH
December 31, 2015

An American-born banker and one-time Putin supporter builds the most successful investment fund in Russia. One day he is declared a threat to national security and kicked out of the country, his company seized by corrupt government officials perpetrating a massive tax fraud scheme. The banker himself is later convicted in absentia of the same offense. But a man he employs, who uncovers the scheme and dares to name names, is arrested. After serving a year in prison he dies under suspicious circumstances. To avenge his loss, the banker morphs from activist financier into an anti-corruption crusader amid death threats from the Kremlin.

This is the origin story at the core of a relentless campaign Bill Browder has spearheaded over the past six years to tighten Western sanctions against Russia. In public appearances, news articles (“The Kremlin threatened to kill me”, “Why I fear for my life”), a memoir, and on a dedicated website, the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management has cultivated official support from London to Washington with astonishing results. In 2012, Congress passed the Magnitsky Act—named after Sergei Magnitsky, the deceased Browder employee—which bans those who benefited from the alleged tax fraud from entering the United States or using its banks. A year later, the U.S. Justice Department doubled-down by opening a civil forfeiture case against a holding company owned by a Russian businessman allegedly linked to the stolen money. Some $22 million of property assets in Manhattan were frozen on charges of money laundering.

Few would dispute that Browder’s staggering success as an outsider money manager could make him a target in the murky realm of post-Soviet Russian finance. Many prominent Russian tycoons have fared worse. Yet attorneys for Denis Katsyv, the Moscow-based businessman who has been snared in the Justice Department’s case, counter that overzealous prosecutors have gone too far, accepting Browder’s account wholesale without independently verifying key details. They assert that a closer examination has revealed holes in his story, ones the government would rather avoid confronting given how much their case depends on Browder’s word.   

Katsyv, the 38-year-old son of a former Moscow region transport minister, was first linked to the money-laundering scheme back in September 2013, when the U.S. district attorney for the southern district of New York alleged companies he controls had bought real estate in New York City with some of the $230 million looted from the Russian government. Prosecutors say the cash was siphoned through a tangled web of shell companies with bank accounts in Russia and Eastern Europe, before a portion made its way to an investment company based in Cyprus, Prevezon Holdings, which Katsyv subsequently purchased.   

Previous media investigations and insider leaks have suggested the involvement of Russian tax officials in the purported treasury heist. However, no proof has yet surfaced that Katsyv or his family ever profited from, or knew about, the wide-ranging scam, according to his lawyers. They note that Katsyv had no reason to suspect any of the cash was potentially tainted because the transfers were relatively small and pre-dated his ownership of the company.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa loosened the freeze order on most of the real estate assets belonging to companies owned by Katsyv, who has since mounted his own offensive. In May, his lawyers filed a deposition transcript with the Manhattan federal court alleging that key parts of Browder’s story are false. Notably, that his expulsion from Russia was not politically motivated as he has long maintained. In a letter to Judge Griesa, the lawyers wrote that Browder acknowledged under oath he had he “personally signed income tax returns that Russian tax courts found to contain false representations.” They also said Browder did not deny claims his representatives had tried to bribe a Russian journalist who spoke with Magnitsky in prison and was told by him that bosses at Hermitage “set him up” to take the fall for Browder’s alleged tax fraud.

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Browder declined to comment for this story. In a May 13 Wall Street Journal article on challenges to his credibility, he said Katsyv’s lawyers had misrepresented his testimony about his tax returns and dismissed the bribery claims. “The defendants,” he asserted by email, “are obviously very upset that we informed the government about their alleged money laundering activity and seem to be trying to attack the people who informed on them as opposed to trying to defend themselves against the very serious allegations brought by the U.S. government.”

Although Browder has been a willing interview in the press, getting him to make his case under oath has been a story in its own right. Browder gave up his U.S. citizenship in 1998 and has lived in the U.K. since leaving Russia. After a lengthy search, a process server finally managed to surprise him last summer in Aspen, Colorado,where he had given a speech. (A judge ruled the summons was not served properly due to lack of residence). Six months later, another server caught up with Browder in New York following an appearance on The Daily Show. When he charged forward to present subpoena papers, Browder slipped out of the side of his limousine and fled on foot. (The incident was captured on video). This time the judge ruled the subpoena was valid and the financier was deposed.

Browder’s lawyers have fought for nearly two years to keep their client from being cross-examined. For the defense, such elusive behavior raises a fair question: If Browder was indeed the victim of persecution in Russia and has enlisted the U.S. justice system to right the balance, why is he so reluctant to offer his sworn testimony in an American courtroom? 

Katsyv’s lawyers say the government has acknowledged that Browder was the main source of its allegations and is now avoiding a hostile cross-examination that would test the veracity of his allegations. “In any media space where Browder has promulgated his story, there is no one who would ask the kind of concrete, pointed questions he would need to answer without contradicting his previous statements,” Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer representing Katsyv, told me. “How can a person who does not pay taxes [in the U.S.] have this kind of influence?”

This dizzying legal drama might be forgettable had Browder’s lobbying efforts not had major foreign policy implications. In the wake of the Magnitsky Act, the Russian government banned Americans from adopting Russian children and drew up a blacklist of its own against U.S. officials, deepening a diplomatic row that some have likened to a new Cold War. While the U.S. government has every reason to track dirty foreign money with a history of flowing into the New York real estate market, lawyers for Prevezon say the stakes are too high to be hinged on one man’s account.

The U.S. Attorney’s case was scheduled to go to trial in early January, but has been delayed by motions made by Browder’s lawyers. Whenever the case is finally heard in court, it’s still not clear whether he will take the stand to testify. With all the favorable results his stateside advocacy has mustered since his ouster from Russia, the looming question is: Why not?
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4858 on: November 24, 2018, 05:48:22 PM »
More interesting even is the clash of anti-Putin heroes/saints Browder versus FusionGPS' Glenn Simpson (yes, the people who paid for the Steele report on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign).

Business Insider:

Quote
But Simpson and Browder have a somewhat bitter history that has become increasingly politicized amid the intensifying investigations into Russia's meddling in the 2016 US election and whether the Trump campaign played a role.

Simpson told lawmakers in August that Browder "was willing to, you know, hand stuff off to the DOJ anonymously in the beginning and cause them to launch a court case against somebody," but that he wasn't interested "in speaking under oath about, you know, why he did that, his own activities in Russia."

He said Fusion had uncovered evidence that Browder sought to evade taxes in Russia using "dozens of shell companies in Cyprus and other tax havens," adding that one of his "interests or even obsessions over the last decade has been corruption in Russia and Russian kleptocracy and the police state that was there."

"I became personally interested in where Bill Browder came from, how he made so much money under Vladimir Putin without getting involved in anything illicit," Simpson said. He characterized Browder's behavior in the Prevezon proceedings as a "determined effort to avoid testifying under oath," which included "running away from subpoenas" and "making lurid allegations" against Fusion.

All of that, he said, "raised questions in my mind about why he was so determined to not have to answer questions under oath about things that happened in Russia."
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4859 on: November 24, 2018, 11:23:23 PM »
Here's a really interesting blog post from 2011 describing some of the tactics Browder used to make investments profitable for Hermitage (HCM) before things went downhill in 2005:

Quote
Having to make their way through the muddy waters of the Russian law system, HCM hired Firestone Duncan, a Moscow-based provider of legal, tax and accounting services. Its founder and managing partner, Jameson Firestone, also plays an important role in subsequent events.  Browder’s first successes were truly tremendous – the fund grew by 40% in the first month, and they didn’t remain unnoticed. The New York Times profiled him in the business section, and droves of investors brought money to HCM – by the beginning of 1998 the fund was worth around $1 billion. The financial crisis of 1998 hit Browder pretty hard – whilst Russian assets depreciated by 88%, the fund shrank to just $120 million – but that didn’t take the wind out of his sails. Meanwhile, that wasn’t HCM’s only big problem – Russia was hardly the most hospitable place for minor shareholders, and heavy hitters routinely pulled off tricks that would have made Jay Gould blush; one can simply read about Kenneth Dart’s ordeals with Khodorkovsky. Browder’s first encounter with the realities of free-for-all capitalism happened in 1997, when one of the most powerful oligarchs (at the time), Potanin, tried to issue new shares in Sidanco, an oil company in which HCM held a 2% stake. The move was clearly aimed at diluting minority shareholders, as the possibilities for buying the additional share issue were limited to the main owner only. But Browder refused to back down without a fight and was determined to protect his investment. Using Safra’s numerous connections in the business world, they launched a media campaign, intending to draw attention to the scam. A flurry of publications in the Western media provided enough pressure, and the Russian securities commission suspended the share issue. As a result, the price of the stock went up, and HCM not only protected their investment, but profited as well.

These events probably defined HCM’s modus operandi for the future. Their primary strategy was to buy shares of a big undervalued company (preferably energy and/or state-affiliated) and then start digging up information about what they perceived as ineffectiveness in the governance of the company. Upon discovering any irregularities, Browder used a wide array of methods to draw attention to his cause: articles in The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and its Russia subsidiary Vedomosti; lawsuits, even political influence in the Western countries. More often than not such action compelled the company to correct its policy, the market positively appraised those changes, and the worth of HCM’s stake would increase. Browder himself proudly dubbed that process the “Hermitage Effect”. But this is only one side of the story, the one which HCM prefers to spin. To understand the other, a clear view of what the Russian financial market was is required. With only a handful of major players, not bounded by any real laws against insider trading, it was the ideal muddy water for the boldest manipulations. Given the immaturity of the Russian legal system at the time, the majority of corporations often operated in “grey” areas and was extremely vulnerable to legal pressure. In 1999 Safra died under mysterious circumstances, having shortly before sold the ownership of HCM to HSBC, one the largest banking and financial services groups in the world. Lobbying and legal options at Browder’s disposal only increased. Unfortunately, he didn’t hesitate to use it, often overstepping the boundary between shareholder activism and greenmail.
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Lurk

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4860 on: November 25, 2018, 06:41:46 AM »
Russian Diplomacy Is Winning the New Cold War
Washington’s attempt to “isolate Putin’s Russia” has failed and had the opposite effect.
By Stephen F. Cohen
November 21, 2018

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.)

On the fifth anniversary of the onset of the Ukrainian crisis, in November 2013, and of Washington “punishing” Russia by attempting to “isolate” it in world affairs—a policy first declared by President Barack Obama in 2014 and continued ever since, primarily through economic sanctions—Cohen discusses the following points: 1.-5. and

6. Considering Washington’s inability to “isolate Russia,” considering Russia’s diplomatic successes in recent years, and considering the bitter fruits of US militarized and regime-change foreign policies (which long predate President Trump), perhaps it’s time for Washington to learn from Moscow rather than demand that Moscow conform to Washington’s thinking about—and behavior in—world affairs. If not, Washington is more likely to continue to isolate itself.

https://www.thenation.com/article/russian-diplomacy-is-winning-the-new-cold-war/
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4861 on: November 25, 2018, 07:28:40 AM »
Wow.

Neven is really passionate about protecting Russian officials and their criminal accomplices who stole $230 million from the Russian Treasury.

And he is even more passionate about putting the blame on the men who exposed this biggest tax fraud in Russian history, one of which died in a Russian prison.

Why, Neven ?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 08:15:05 AM by Rob Dekker »
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4862 on: November 25, 2018, 09:39:32 AM »
Neven, you put up so many smokescreens attacking Browder and defending the Kremlin line in the Magnitsky case, that I really had to think about how to respond.

For the moment, I think I'll just start at the beginning of your argument, and debunk the very first part of it.

Martin presented a document that comments on the lies in the documentary that you are promoting. To which you respond :

Martin, lots of circular reasoning in the link you posted. This organisation says this, that organisation says that, and so Browder is correct. Who did they get it from? Browder.

The very first lie in that documentary is that Magnitsky was not beaten.

Martin's presentation right here :
http://russian-untouchables.com/docs/Nekrasov%20Lies%20Presentaion%20June%20(ENG)%20NEW%20JUNE%202016%20v%202.pdf
presents 7 pages of evidence that Magnitsky was beaten, in pictures and medical reports, and even from the official  death certificate.

Faced with this evidence, any reasonable person would conclude that Magnitsky was indeed beaten.

But now you tell us this is "circular reasoning" ?

Can you present counter evidence that shows that Magnitsky was NOT beaten ?
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4863 on: November 25, 2018, 06:23:00 PM »
Have you watched the documentary, Rob? I still have it on my hard drive and can send it to you. You didn't reply to my earlier offer.

Magnitsky's death was tragic, regardless of how it happened, why it happened, and the fact that it happens for similar reasons, under similar circumstances, probably every minute around the world. The more important question is: Did he die because he was a crusader against corruption, a martyr, a saint? Or was he simply a tax evasion specialist who got caught up in some shady affair, and is his memory now abused by a corrupt crony capitalist (an ex-buddy of the Russian band of oligarchs) who is well-versed in manipulating the media and the political stage to turn situations to his advantage (like staying out of prison or getting some extra millions through his many shell companies based in tax havens)?

Is that alternative version possible, Rob, even if only in theory? Are you 100% sure that with the information available, you can be the perfect judge of that? Is this something that can be determined scientifically?

That last link in my series of 'smokescreens to attack Browder' is really the best thing I've read on the whole saga (and I've spent a lot of time yesterday reading, after watching that documentary a couple of days ago). Why is it so good? Because 1) it's really well-written, and 2) it neither 'defends the Kremlin line', nor does it blindly accept Browder as a paragon of truth, whose story must be accepted without checking (so you don't go and make documentaries about it).

Here's what the article called Sergei Magnitsky, Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital Management and Wondrous Metamorphoses says towards the end:

Quote
Certainly, all other versions can’t be ruled out. Falsifying of evidence by the police is not in any way uncommon in Russia, so some omnipotent crime syndicate could have indeed implicated innocent Browder. The main problem with Hermitage’s version of the event was accidentally highlighted by Hero Journalist Yulia Latynina. In her trademark conspiratorial manner, she wondered that the syndicate must have been able to coordinate the efforts of the Investigative Committee, the Federal Tax Service, the Penal system and even conduct secret ops. What she forgot to mention was that they also obviously could pull the wool over Putin’s eyes, since it would otherwise mean he chose to side with them, sacrificing Russia’s reputation abroad in the process. And all that for a measly $230 million; seems kind of far-fetched to me. The other version, espoused by some ultra-patriots in Russia, that Hermitage both organized and was the ultimate benefactor of the scam is even more flawed. While Browder demonstrated more than enough ballsy behavior, warning the police about the crime you’re about to commit is just too brazen and not prudent. Although, given the slowness of bureaucracy, it would have been a relatively safe move anyway. But the only version that has a fighting chance to survive Occam’s razor is the above-mentioned one.

And this is the 'above-mentioned version':

Quote
Back in 2006, when HCM was liquidating their assets, for the first time they paid 24% in taxes rather than the usual 5%. It’s unclear why they did it – maybe in order to part on good terms with Russian authorities, or maybe it was difficult to come up with new schemes under the stare of the police. In 2007, it became evident that amicable separation was unlikely, and that aroused some regret about the overpaid money. Actually, the scheme that was used to get back $230 million of Hermitage’s taxes sprang into action at least a year before. Another large investment fund, Renaissance Capital, used it to return $106 million. Or more precisely, someone stole Renaissance’s entities and used them to cheat the budget out of that amount of money. Except that Renaissance raised absolutely no fuss about that. It is interesting that the applications for the tax rebate were filed through the same tax offices, the companies lost similar cases in court and even several of the same people appeared in the process. So representatives of HCM approached one Oktay Gasanov, whose acquaintance Semyon Korobeynikov specialized in that sort of tax scam. They created duplicates of seals (later, an expert examination showed that the stamps on the false tax rebate applications had NOT been made with the ones seized during the search of Hermitage’s office), and reregistered all three companies to Korobeynikov’s associates. One of them, Markelov, later testified that he had once met with Magnitsky, who prepared the false tax rebate applications and stamped them with the duplicate seal. HCM wanted some insurance and refused to open new accounts in Korobeynikov‘s bank, insisting on using old accounts, opened in HSBC Bank. The companies then went on with losing the bogus cases in court, creating losses. And that’s where Hermitage made an egregious blunder that ruined their entire ruse. The court fees were paid from the accounts in HSBC bank already AFTER Hermitage’s claim about the hijacking of Makhaon, Rilend and Parphenion. Everyone was in a bit of hurry – the tax rebate applications had to be filed before the end of the year, when suddenly in October 2007 Gasanov died of a heart attack. He was the single liaison between Hermitage and Korobeynikov, and the latter had everything he needed to organize the scam. So he decided it would be much merrier to go on without Hermitage. Such a turn of events couldn’t have made Browder happy, and HCM started ringing all the alarm bells. They quickly “investigated” the scam and wrote letters to the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office and MVD on the 7th of December, 2007, revealing all details. But it was too late – on the 24th the tax rebate applications were filed, and on the 26th all $230 million were transferred to the accounts opened in Korobeynikov’s bank beforehand. Later, Korobeynikov died in an accident – he fell from the balcony of his country house, tying the single loose end in this case. Browder tried to force Renaissance Capital to reveal the information about the circumstances of their entities’ involvement in the similar scam, but it seems without result. The Russian police investigation only revealed additional evidence that Hermitage had had something to do with the tax fraud – the constituent documents of allegedly hijacked companies were found in possession of one of Hermitage’s lawyers. And part of the money was recovered later: only $25 million of the whole $230 million, but that’s it.

A loop in the Russian law that made the fraud possible is the rather uncommon situation when companies that posted giant profits are liquidated the year after that. That largely limits its applicability to the financial industry only. Various scams with tax rebates on Russia’s VAT tax is very common, so every one has to be approved by a special commission. On the contrary, there were no special clauses, governing profit tax rebates, so the fraudsters pulled the scam by obtaining the signatures of a single tax office’s heads of department. Clearly, the mastermind behind this operation has enough influence in the Federal Tax Service, but identifying him is very difficult. The money was laundered through numerous proxies, and all interactions with other participants of the scam were conducted by Korobeynikov.

Occam's razor...
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4864 on: November 25, 2018, 07:48:20 PM »
The above comment is my main point about the whole thing. It's what I'm most interested in discussing.

In the meantime, here's another smokescreen attack on Bill Browder, the hedge funds manager who made hundreds of millions during the Russian oligarch wild west period, but has now become a human rights activist. I found this quote rather ironic, if not pathological:

Quote
"Cyprus is, effectively, the money-laundering country of choice for criminals from Russia," says U.K. hedge fund manager Bill Browder. "And the reason … is because the Cypriot authorities turn a very active blind eye to the money-laundering."

Browder should know, because:

Quote
William Browder is also a fan of Cyprus secrecy. Cypriot shells Glendora and Kone were part of his offshore network “owned” by an HSBC Private Bank Guernsey Ltd trust. The real owner was Browder’s Hermitage Fund. Assets (stocks and money) went from Russia to Cyprus and then to parts unknown. Republic International Trust, registered by Mossack Fonseca of Panama Papers fame and listed on the Glendora document, was in the offshore network of Republic National Bank owner Edmond Safra, an early investor who then held 51% of Hermitage Fund shares.

Kone document lists Hermitage and HSBC Private Bank Guernsey, the Hermitage trustee.
The Russians are looking to chase down those “parts unknown.” They think that Browder used the Cyprus shells to move assets from Russia to evade taxes, cover up fraudulent stock buys and bankrupt his Russian companies to prevent assets being seized. They want to know where such illegitimate profits landed.

They were recently awarded $20 million in a Russian bankruptcy fraud case against HSBC, reduced from an initial $30 million. (Numbers vary based on currency rates.) They want some $50 million more, which Russian criminal court evidence shows Browder illicitly obtained.

They wanted cooperation from Cyprus. This is standard between countries investigating fraud and corruption.

But Browder doesn’t want the Russians to find out where the assets went. So, he filed to block the Cypriots from cooperating with the Russians.
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4865 on: November 25, 2018, 10:44:12 PM »
Russia - Ukraine clash at sea: access to sea of Azov blocked by Russia. Air assets and naval units deployed

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46338671

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4866 on: November 26, 2018, 02:04:30 AM »
Quote
Martin presented a document that comments on the lies (sic) in the documentary that you are promoting.
as in Lies of Nekrasov-Piraya anti-Magnitsky “Documentary” ?


Did anyone bother to check that websites bona fides before quoting and then subsequently accepting it must be all true and credible? I don't think so.

1)  and that’s according to Browder’s own website, russian-untouchables.com
https://jimmysllama.com/2018/09/15/11624/

Hardly an "unbiased or credible source" imo. It's name servers and web host are both in the UK btw, ie "browder country".

2) Reading Magnitsky's own words as a reasonable source on that very website shows that even he does not refer to himself as a lawyer on those pages, but he does specifically label others as "lawyers" in the very same text of interview. One does not need to be a lawyer to provide legal advice on cooperate, accounting and financial laws .... accountants do that every day.

There is the compelling issue of the Russian University from where he got his degree from - they have never run a Lawyer's degree course there. Magnitsky is not a Lawyer in the common meaning of that term. So there's a clear "error" on what is the most easiest thing to prove one way or another. That website does nothing to show it is credible or competent on basic research standards.

3) I checked several russian language docs by downloading them, using OCR and then translating them into english btw. This is the kind of sensible wise thing that unbiased people would do before assuming the material is credible and has the evidence to support it's own claims.

4) One issue arose regarding Magnitsky speaking about Cyprus entities and the movement of funds and authorities to there. I think he said he didn't know who they were and that they had no connection to the companies he claimed were being "defrauded" by being illegally "sold off". I had to smile when I also saw that it was Browder himself who owned those very same Cypriat entities.

5) It's equally plausible that Magnitsky was just another in a "conga line of patsies" hired by "Browder the Russian Oligarch" and others connected to HMC. But do I care enough to dig deep into such dark and treacherous waters? Not in your life! A pox on all their 'houses' and those who gets suckered to lay down with dogs, well, tough. Call it bad karma or whatever it happens all the time.

6) Not sure why anyone would bother getting into an argument or demanding anyone on an internet forum to produce all kinds of evidence when what they are relying upon has so many holes itself and is clearly biased owned/operated by Browder himself and yet they do not even know these simple basics. I'd be extremely embarrassed by being so easily found out as being unreliable and gullible and incompetent in researching very basic info before speaking out or making demands of others to "put up" and prove their opinions here. Quite strange, or as 'my' lyrics in one song went "strange days indeed" :)


So why would people default to accept it with question? Maybe Neven explains that best:
Quote
Is that alternative version possible, Rob, even if only in theory? Are you 100% sure that with the information available, you can be the perfect judge of that? Is this something that can be determined scientifically?

Biases and strong personal beliefs are what they are.  There is no room for either when basic logic, competent historical research and scientific rigor are what is required - well at least in my opinion this is preferable to leaping to assumptions. Unless Browder was your own blood brother or husband I fail to see why anyone would care less about the guy, let alone believe him and take him at his word. :)

« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 06:45:49 AM by Neven »
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4867 on: November 26, 2018, 07:37:43 AM »
Neven, you are just putting up more smokescreens, by throwing more mud at Browder.

Can we have an evidence based conversation instead, please, to find out where we have common ground ?

There are two ways to do this right : Either we argue from the top down, or from the bottom up.

Top-down would mean we talk about if the alleged crime happened or not.
So the first question is : Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?

Bottom-up would mean we talk about individual details where each side of the story differs.
An example would be if Magnitsky was beaten or not.

The link that Martin provided shows 7 pages of evidence that Magnitsky WAS beaten.
Do you have any counter-evidence that shows he was NOT beaten ?
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 08:34:57 AM by Rob Dekker »
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4868 on: November 26, 2018, 09:12:39 AM »
Neven, you are just putting up more smokescreens, by throwing more mud at Browder.

Yes, and it sticks very easily, as it usually does to crony capitalists. Or do you believe that he's an anti-corruption saint? If you don't believe this, it would imply that you are open to the possibility that Browder isn't telling the whole truth.

Quote
Can we have an evidence based conversation instead, please ?

Top-down would mean we talk about if the alleged crime happened or not.
So the first question is : Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?

I've indicated what I find the most convincing version I've read so far (in this comment), and I've emphasised that this is what I'm most interested in discussing.

We can discuss other details/smokescreens as well. I'm agnostic about what exactly caused Magnitsky's demise. One would expect a level of neglect in Russian prisons, a lack of hygiene, some guard violence and so on. This isn't a western prison (assuming these are ideal).

On the one hand you have Browder advancing the narrative that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards with rubber batons (an isolation cell cannot hold that many moving people, but never mind). I'd say that getting beaten for an hour like that would show a lot more wounds than have been reported. The wounds that have been reported can equally be explained by the official Russian narrative: Magnitsky went nuts for whatever reason.

That means you have to take someone at their word. You, Rob, will immediately take Browder's version of the story because you have pre-conceived biases ('if a Russian says it, it must be a lie, because they always lie'). I have the luxury of not having to take anybody's word, because the exact cause of Magnitsky's death is irrelevant in the larger story, which is the elevation of a tax accountant to the status of martyr, leading to all kinds of geopolitical actions. And the driving force behind this elevation is highly likely a corrupt crony capitalist, as my 'smokescreens' have amply shown.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 09:46:55 AM by Neven »
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4869 on: November 26, 2018, 10:07:02 AM »
Quote
Can we have an evidence based conversation instead, please ?

Top-down would mean we talk about if the alleged crime happened or not.
So the first question is : Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?

I've indicated what I find the most convincing version I've read so far (in this comment), and I've emphasised that this is what I'm most interested in discussing.

We can discuss other details/smokescreens as well. I'm agnostic about what exactly caused Magnitsky's demise. One would expect a level of neglect in Russian prisons, a lack of hygiene, some guard violence and so on. This isn't a western prison (assuming these are ideal).

On the one hand you have Browder advancing the narrative that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards with rubber batons (an isolation cell cannot hold that many moving people, but never mind). I'd say that getting beaten for an hour like that would show a lot more wounds than have been reported. The wounds that have been reported can equally be explained by the official Russian narrative: Magnitsky went nuts for whatever reason.

That means you have to take someone at their word. You, Rob, will immediately take Browder's version of the story because you have pre-conceived biases ('if a Russian says it, it must be a lie, because they always lie'). I have the luxury of not having to take anybody's word, because the exact cause of Magnitsky's death is irrelevant in the larger story, which is the elevation of a tax accountant to the status of martyr, leading to all kinds of geopolitical actions. And the driving force behind this elevation is highly likely a corrupt crony capitalist, as my 'smokescreens' have amply shown.

Is that a YES or a NO to the question in bold ?
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4870 on: November 26, 2018, 10:22:34 AM »
Is that a YES or a NO to the question in bold ?

What does it say in the version I find most convincing?
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4871 on: November 26, 2018, 10:27:54 AM »
Is that a YES or a NO to the question in bold ?

What does it say in the version I find most convincing?

Huh ?
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4872 on: November 26, 2018, 10:33:11 AM »
Read back, you're not reading what I write.
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4873 on: November 26, 2018, 10:35:46 AM »
Read back, you're not reading what I write.

Seriously, Neven. Why don't you just answer the question with a YES or NO answer.

Here it is again :

Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4874 on: November 26, 2018, 10:49:51 AM »
I've already answered that question by saying which version I find most convincing. It's here. What does it say? Yes, or no?

It doesn't even matter which version I subscribe to, because it is undisputed. So, please, cut to the chase.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 11:26:01 AM by Neven »
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4875 on: November 27, 2018, 04:37:02 AM »
Interesting : Russia's military is meeting with Libya's military, and look who joined in : Our friend Prigozhin.

https://medium.com/dfrlab/putinatwar-prigozhin-meets-libyan-military-officials-608ca4f2b98e





Prigozhin is widely known as Putin's "chef", who finances the IRA (Russian troll farm that intervened in 2016 elections) and also finances Wagner, a private army that does Putin's dirty work in Ukraine, Syria, and now apparently also involved in Libya...

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4876 on: November 27, 2018, 04:43:32 AM »
I've already answered that question by saying which version I find most convincing. It's here. What does it say? Yes, or no?

I don't see any clear yes or no in that comment, and I'm not going to interpret anything for you.

Why are you so reluctant to just answer the question, Neven ?

If it's YES, then isn't it great that at least we have some common understanding that a crime was committed. Then we can go to the next step, which is to determine who is responsible.
If it's NO, then we can look into why we differ on opinion.

But you need to answer the question, otherwise we can't have a conversation.

So, here is the question again :

Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?


A simple YES or NO would suffice.
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4877 on: November 27, 2018, 06:05:23 AM »
Second GRU Officer Indicted in Montenegro Coup Unmasked

Two officers from Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) are sought, via Interpol, as suspected organizers of an unsuccessful 2016 coup in Montenegro, a small country on the Adriatic Sea in Southeastern Europe. The true identity of one officer is public, while the other officer is known only under his cover identity. Bellingcat has been able to unmask the real identity of the second suspect indicted by the Montenegro prosecutor, and to confirm that he is indeed a senior GRU officer.

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/11/22/second-gru-officer-indicted-montenegro-coup-unmasked/

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4878 on: November 27, 2018, 06:57:33 AM »
Second GRU Officer Indicted in Montenegro Coup Unmasked

Two officers from Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) are sought, via Interpol, as suspected organizers of an unsuccessful 2016 coup in Montenegro, a small country on the Adriatic Sea in Southeastern Europe. The true identity of one officer is public, while the other officer is known only under his cover identity. Bellingcat has been able to unmask the real identity of the second suspect indicted by the Montenegro prosecutor, and to confirm that he is indeed a senior GRU officer.

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2018/11/22/second-gru-officer-indicted-montenegro-coup-unmasked/

I was impressed to read this, and also liked that Bellingcat have developed their research methods and become more open about their references. Amazing how much info can be gathered about secret strata in Russia just from public and leaked sources. Which is also gives some hope for the future.

Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4879 on: November 27, 2018, 12:24:15 PM »
I don't see any clear yes or no in that comment, and I'm not going to interpret anything for you.

Why are you so reluctant to just answer the question, Neven ?

I am not reluctant. I have already answered several times. It's like being asked whether the sky is blue. Or whether Sergei Magnitsky was an accountant.

Quote
So, here is the question again :

Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?


A simple YES or NO would suffice.

Stop playing childish games and cut to the chase. That way you save time, which you can use to tell us whether you think Bill Browder is a paragon of virtue, and whether you really think he owns 'only' 4 million USD.
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4880 on: November 27, 2018, 04:57:44 PM »
I don't see any clear yes or no in that comment, and I'm not going to interpret anything for you.

Why are you so reluctant to just answer the question, Neven ?

I am not reluctant. I have already answered several times. It's like being asked whether the sky is blue. Or whether Sergei Magnitsky was an accountant.

I want to know why Rob (and Martin) are reluctant to answer my questions about Magnitsky and the claims made on Browder's little PR Propornot styled website why they "appear to believe" it must be true.
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4881 on: November 28, 2018, 03:35:10 AM »
tell us whether you think Bill Browder is a paragon of virtue
This is irrrelevant and a matter of taste.
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4882 on: November 28, 2018, 03:38:34 AM »
I want to know why Rob (and Martin) are reluctant to answer my questions about Magnitsky and the claims made on Browder's little PR Propornot styled website why they "appear to believe" it must be true.
(I'm usually skipping your Gish gallops and Russia Today quotes. (Your texts are too long and too disinformation infested to take seriously in a short time. Please learn to keep yourself short and to the point. The art is to focus on the hard logic of the story, not the psycho-logics of denial, obfuscation, evasion, aversion, etc. Else you just lead into the swamp. I strongly suspect you try that intentionally, i.e. you are a bad actor (targeting Neven above all), or you have psychopathological issues (pubertal precociousness? :) ).))

The only thing I contributed is a link to a PDF file. The content of the PDF is relevant, not the website (perhaps Browder's by coincidence) that serves the document. For that reason I also posted the PDF as an attachment.

--------------

No more comments/contributions from me here until Mueller has finished his endgame. Except hilarities :)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 04:18:12 AM by Martin Gisser »
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4883 on: November 28, 2018, 05:07:49 AM »
"People living in glass houses should not be throwing stones." Truism

Jesus: Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You, hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

Buddha: The faults of others are easier to see than one’s own; the faults of others are easily seen, for they are sifted like chaff, but one’s own faults are hard to see. This is like the cheat who hides his dice and shows the dice of his opponent, calling attention to the other’s shortcomings, continually thinking of accusing him.

Short enough?

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4884 on: November 28, 2018, 09:10:00 AM »
I don't see any clear yes or no in that comment, and I'm not going to interpret anything for you.

Why are you so reluctant to just answer the question, Neven ?

I am not reluctant. I have already answered several times.

No you didn't answer the question. You just made some statements.

Quote
It's like being asked whether the sky is blue. Or whether Sergei Magnitsky was an accountant.

So what is it, then ? A YES ?

Quote
Quote
So, here is the question again :

Do you agree that $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme, or not ?


A simple YES or NO would suffice.

Stop playing childish games and cut to the chase.

No, Neven. You are the one playing a game. Why not answer Yes or No ?

OK. So let me just assume that you mean YES, $230 million was stolen from the Russian Treasury in a tax fraud scheme.

Now who did it ? Well, not Browder and not Magnitsky :

Remember that from 2005 on Browder was already denied entry into Russia.
In 2006, Hermitage paid the Russian state $230 million in tax.
Then in June 2007 the offices of Hermitage (Browder's company) and their law firm Firestone Duncan (Magnitsky's office) were raided by Russian authorities.
Owners were re-registered (to three convicted criminals), and assets seized.
A frivolous lawsuit was filed that they promptly lost. As a result of that lawsuit, Hermitage under its new criminal ownership claimed a tax refund of $230 million (all tax paid in 2006) which was promptly paid out 2 days after its application in Dec 2007.

Browder had nothing to do with any of this (other than loosing his company and whatever assets it had in Russia), and the only thing that Magnitsky did "wrong" was to report the evidence of this biggest tax fraud in Russian history to the Russian authorities. For this he payed with his life.

Now, what I find particularly upsetting is that you here keep pissing on Browder and Magnitsky while you say nothing about the corrupt Russian officials and criminals that pulled off this biggest tax fraud in Russian history.

Why the pro-Kremlin bias, Neven ?
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« Reply #4885 on: November 28, 2018, 12:00:04 PM »
Great 'Jimmy Doresk' article about RT and Paranoia writ large and why some people don't answer other people's questions.

All the Kremlin’s men: Farage, Moscow and six degrees of Kevin Bacon
So it’s assumed Farage (who at this point hasn’t been on for a while) is in the pay of the Kremlin, alongside the likes of WikiLeaker Julian Assange. Leave.EU financier Aaron Banks is also in the Venn diagram (his wife is Russian so …). 

What annoys me is, when you actually work for RT, it really ruins your appreciation of the work of other media outlets, because when you get to the inevitable section about RT, it’s usually so inaccurate, you question everything else that’s been said too. I’m beginning to think I can’t trust everything I read.   

So take Cadwalladr’s Farage hit piece, which is actually just a lengthy description of how she failed to get him to talk to her.

My personal favorite part was a quote from Guillaume Chaslot, who’s an adviser for the Center for Humane Technology. He says of RT: They’re the biggest information network on YouTube. They’ve 22 channels and they have an absolute masterful understanding of how the algorithm works.”

This line was so good, we actually discussed it in the office for about 10 minutes, after we’d all stopped laughing. Honestly, if someone out there does have a “masterful understanding of the algorithm” and is looking for work, please do send in your CV to the following address RT, Hollowed Out Volcano, 37 Bond Villain Drive, Island of Evil, the Pacific.

Cadwalladr’s claim that RT made Farage a YouTube star,” though, is extremely flattering.

read it all so you don't miss any laughs.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/444976-nigel-farage-kremlin-russia

Or go read The Guardian instead. :)
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4886 on: November 28, 2018, 06:11:43 PM »
tell us whether you think Bill Browder is a paragon of virtue
This is irrrelevant and a matter of taste.

No, it's highly relevant, because you assume everything he says is true, just because you hate Putin. But if he's a crony capitalist who, just like the Russian oligarchs, stole as much money as he could from the Russian people, and siphoning it off to tax havens, using shell companies (and there's plenty of evidence for that), he may be pushing a story that serves his interests, but isn't necessarily true, or not true at all.

So, my hope is that by posting 'smokescreens' that show that Browder is a highly untrustworthy source of information, and that his story has had major political implications that are desirable to warmongers like John McCain, that maybe you and Rob go scratch your head and say: 'Okay, Russia and Putin suck, the Magnitsky Act is a good thing in principle, but I must admit that it's a bit strange how it has come about. Apparently, it takes a billionaire to achieve things in just a few years that take decades for human rights organisations. How unusual, when one thinks about it.'

But you don't. You don't think about it. You have your enemy, your group of people that you don't know and therefore hate, because they are the cause of all the problems in the world. You're authoritarian Russophobes.

No, Neven. You are the one playing a game. Why not answer Yes or No ?

Because it's a stupid question, Rob. Nobody is denying the tax fraud happened, not even the Russians you hate so much. The fact that you even ask it, shows that you have no idea what the whole thing is about and aren't even willing to investigate it. All you know, is Bill Browder is against Putin, and so everything Bill Browder says, is true.

Quote
Remember that from 2005 on Browder was already denied entry into Russia.
In 2006, Hermitage paid the Russian state $230 million in tax.
Then in June 2007 the offices of Hermitage (Browder's company) and their law firm Firestone Duncan (Magnitsky's office) were raided by Russian authorities.
Owners were re-registered (to three convicted criminals), and assets seized.
A frivolous lawsuit was filed that they promptly lost. As a result of that lawsuit, Hermitage under its new criminal ownership claimed a tax refund of $230 million (all tax paid in 2006) which was promptly paid out 2 days after its application in Dec 2007.

Bravo, you just uncritically repeated Browder's version, like hundreds of journalists and politicians  have done around the world.

Quote
Now, what I find particularly upsetting is that you here keep pissing on Browder and Magnitsky while you say nothing about the corrupt Russian officials and criminals that pulled off this biggest tax fraud in Russian history.

I'm pissing on Browder, a corrupt, crony capitalist who knows how to manipulate in this era of fake news. I'm not pissing on Magnitsky, because he was just a pawn in all this, not the great anti-corruption martyr that he has been turned into subsequently.

It's Browder who has abused Magnitsky's memory to stay out of jail and make sure nothing happens to him, creating the perfect excuse for Washington warmongers to sanction the USSR Russia, needed for increasing the military-industrial complex budget and scaring the shit out of the American population, so they remain xenophobic, nationalistic and docile, while their privacy and rights erode further from under their feet.

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Why the pro-Kremlin bias, Neven ?

Again, read that article that contains the version I subscribe to (here). Have you even read it? Are you able to read something from start to finish, without stopping because your knee is jerking?

You'll see it is neither pro-Kremlin, nor pro-Browder. Did you know it is possible to be both against corrupt governments and crony capitalists that are destroying the world? It's not a binary choice, Rob. You can be against both.
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Lurk

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4887 on: November 29, 2018, 04:18:04 AM »
While there are many who are speaking about the larger broader more critical issues geopolitical, they are extremely marginalized in the MSM media (for obvious reasons) and kept on the sidelines.

International bodies should not be used to further anti-Russian agendas
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/445060-interpol-wada-opcw-fifa-russia/

    In sum, the Guardian published an article today that it knew would explode into all sorts of viral benefits for the paper and its reporters even though there are gaping holes and highly sketchy aspects to the story. That's a media pattern we've seen over and over in this story. https://t.co/1s9E3trp5f
    — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 27, 2018

And Caitlin Johnstone is another fair example - blocked on Twitter/Facebook numerous times

November 28, 2018 author: Caitlin Johnstone
MSM Is Like Big Pharma: The Rewards Of Malpractice Outweigh The Penalties
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/11/28/msm-is-like-big-pharma-the-rewards-of-malpractice-outweigh-the-penalties/ 

While Eliot Higgins acts as the PR coordinator for syrian rebels and islamist terrorists pushing their version of fake news, and the Atlantic Council does it bit to shore up the incompetence and graft of President Poroshenko in Facistville, Ukraine.
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4888 on: November 29, 2018, 07:58:42 AM »
tell us whether you think Bill Browder is a paragon of virtue
This is irrrelevant and a matter of taste.

No, it's highly relevant, because you assume everything he says is true, just because you hate Putin.
No, Neven. Your or my opinion about Browder or Putin is entirely irrelevant when it comes to who stole that $230 million from the Russian Treasury.

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But if he's a crony capitalist who, just like the Russian oligarchs, stole as much money as he could from the Russian people, and siphoning it off to tax havens, using shell companies (and there's plenty of evidence for that), he may be pushing a story that serves his interests, but isn't necessarily true, or not true at all.

Yeah, it's all in that second word you mention there : "if".
So far you have presented ZERO evidence that Browder "stole" anything, or was "siphoning" anything either.

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So, my hope is that by posting 'smokescreens' that show that Browder is a highly untrustworthy source of information,

And so far, Browder has provided (for example via Martin's link) a wealth of evidence not just who raided Hermitage and stole $230 million from the Russian Treasury, but also who jailed Magnitsky and how he got killed.

You on the other hand, have shown extreme reluctance to answer a simple yes/no question on the issue, and you have quoted some stuff from a blogger who wrote something about the Magnitsky case, without actually providing any evidence at all.

So who is the "highly untrustworthy source" now ?
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4889 on: November 29, 2018, 08:11:46 AM »
Quote
Why the pro-Kremlin bias, Neven ?

Again, read that article that contains the version I subscribe to (here). Have you even read it? Are you able to read something from start to finish, without stopping because your knee is jerking?

You'll see it is neither pro-Kremlin, nor pro-Browder. Did you know it is possible to be both against corrupt governments and crony capitalists that are destroying the world? It's not a binary choice, Rob. You can be against both.

Yes I read that comment, and I read the entire blog post from the guy you quoted as well.

You both claim very little, and you both try very hard to keep the Russian state out of the picture.

The problem with that theory is that it does not make any logical sense at all :

Hermitage was raided by the Russian authorities in June 2007, and all their assets confiscated, allegedly because they owed tax money to the Russian state.

If so, why on Earth would the Russian state pay out a REFUND of $230 million in December 2007 to the (newly re-registered owners) of Hermitage companies ????

Either the Russian tax authority is highly incompetent or (more likely) they are corrupt to the bone.

Another indication that it is the latter, is that $11 million of that tax refund found its way to the Russian Tax Collector's husband :
« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 09:00:39 AM by Rob Dekker »
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Neven

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4890 on: November 29, 2018, 09:01:06 PM »
No, Neven. Your or my opinion about Browder or Putin is entirely irrelevant when it comes to who stole that $230 million from the Russian Treasury.

Yes, our opinions on Browder are irrelevant. It is always possible that a criminal tells the truth.

But as it is impossible for us to determine who did it, it is relevant. It is normal procedure in any investigation to determine how trustworthy claimants, defendants and witnesses are.

For almost a decade the corrupt system worked just fine for Browder, which explains why he was a big fan of Putin. We know that almost anyone who has become rich in this period, was highly likely corrupt (it's almost impossible to get rich without getting dirty hands anyhow), and Browder made hundreds of millions before going too far and running into trouble with the authorities, well before Magnitsky went to jail.

One cannot assume that such a person is telling the truth, just because he hates Putin. If you do assume that, automatically, you're unaware of your biases. Or you are, but you just don't care.

Do you really discard the possibility that Browder has lied and still is lying, Rob? I though it was you who prides himself on science and the scientific method.

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So far you have presented ZERO evidence that Browder "stole" anything, or was "siphoning" anything either.

It is very hard to prove such a thing, especially for a non-expert like me. Most of all in a time where rich people don't go to jail most of the time.  I have seen and posted enough things that should raise an eyebrow, besides the things that the Russian authorities accuse Browder of (tax evasion, illegal buying of shares). Things like shell companies, registrations in tax havens, Hermitage/Browder's modus operandi, the people that taught Browder the trade, and simply the fact that he's made hundreds of millions when Russia was at its most corrupt.

Again, I have posted plenty of examples. This has all been brushed off as 'Russian propaganda smokescreens', and so Neven still hasn't presented any evidence. As said before: circular reasoning. Impenetrable.

The media, politicians, everyone parrots Browder's story, and anyone who dares come up with alternative explanations is threatened legally by Browder's accountants, and instantly smeared. Anyone watch that Magnitsky documentary?

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And so far, Browder has provided (for example via Martin's link) a wealth of evidence not just who raided Hermitage and stole $230 million from the Russian Treasury, but also who jailed Magnitsky and how he got killed.

The Russian authorities have done likewise, but you're simply not interested, because Russians always lie, right?

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You on the other hand, have shown extreme reluctance to answer a simple yes/no question on the issue,

Ahhh, you got me, Rob! You win, Putin loses.

This is another instance where we'll just have to wait a couple of years, decades perhaps, until a conclusive piece of evidence or a death-bed confession can explain the case beyond doubt. If we're lucky. We still don't know who killed JFK. Oh wait, it was the Russians, of course!
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4891 on: November 30, 2018, 02:54:01 AM »
Except hilarities :)
"We are living in fictional times" -- Lewis Black
So much fake news pushed by mainstream media these days! Now they even push the discredited Steele dossier again!

Luckily we have Aaron Mate's Real News! He doesn't even have to read the book before interviewing its Steele connected author about Collusion. He managed to trick Harding for 16 minutes into believing he had actually read the book! Very brilliant cherry picking. Mate' should work for WUWT...

https://youtu.be/9Ikf1uZli4g?t=961

And good we have Jimmy Dore who needed only one short show to prove he himself can at least read an article in full. The effing MSM parrots Harding's last article without saying that it says "sources say", so Dore can of course hype Mate's brilliant interview.

Meanwhile, quoth Trumpophobe Bill Palmer:
The only thing that could put this day over the top would be if we learned that Donald Trump was plotting the Trump Tower Moscow deal with the specific Russians who were also working to alter the outcome of the election in his favor – and if Trump offered to give Vladimir Putin the penthouse.

Of course there's a simple explanation...


------------

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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4892 on: November 30, 2018, 05:14:48 AM »
This is another instance where we'll just have to wait a couple of years, decades perhaps, until a conclusive piece of evidence or a death-bed confession can explain the case beyond doubt. If we're lucky. We still don't know who killed JFK. Oh wait, it was the Russians, of course!

Only if you refuse to look at the evidence we have in this case.
Here is 75 pages of it, for you to debunk :

http://russian-untouchables.com/rus/docs/P01E.pdf

Put that against the blog post you quote from which makes no logic sense, and has no referenced evidence.

What to believe ? Mmmm. Hard choice to make....
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4893 on: November 30, 2018, 07:08:12 AM »
A picture witnessing the truth about what is wrong with Russia under Putin :



Yes, that is Boris Nemtsov, Putin critic, killed in front of the Kremlin, 27 February 2015, holding a picture of Sergei Magnitsky, killed November 16, 2009, in a Russian prison cell, after he exposed the largest Tax Fraud in Russian history, committed by Putin appointed officials.

The Interior Ministry perpetrators of that tax fraud that Magnitsky exposed (Kuznetsov and Karpov) got a kickback and a promotion, and Nemtsov's killers' boss (Kadyrov) even got a medal from Putin :

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/11459595/Putin-gives-state-medal-to-Chechnya-leader-who-praised-Nemtsov-suspect.html

Vladimir Putin awarded the leader of Chechnya with an “Order of Honour” on Monday, a day after Ramzan Kadyrov hailed a suspected killer of an opposition politician as a “patriot of Russia”.

Those are the criminals that Neven is cheering for.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 08:11:36 AM by Rob Dekker »
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Lurk

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4894 on: November 30, 2018, 08:30:12 AM »
Those are the criminals that Neven is cheering for.

I thought you said you were leaving.
American journalist Walter Lippmann observed, “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much!”
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4895 on: November 30, 2018, 09:28:09 AM »
Those are the criminals that Neven is cheering for.

I thought you said you were leaving.

No.
I said that you ain't seen nothing yet :

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2272.msg182606.html#msg182606
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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4896 on: November 30, 2018, 09:43:57 AM »
you ain't seen nothing yet :

Which is literally true.  ;D
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4897 on: December 01, 2018, 08:33:13 AM »
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Rob Dekker

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4898 on: December 01, 2018, 08:46:35 AM »
Putin and Bin Salman, BFF :



Prince: Dude, no need for Novichok. I used a bonesaw, and STILL got away with it.
Putin: Yeah, you gave me a good idea for my next hit.
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Lurk

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Re: Russia, Russia, Russia
« Reply #4899 on: December 11, 2018, 02:45:57 AM »
I think I should tag posts like this as "Little Known News" :)
---

StarDate: 10 Dec, 2018

Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers, an An-124 transport and an Il-62 plane have carried out a 10,000-kilometer flight from Russia to Venezuela, being shadowed by Norwegian F16s along the way, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The planes landed at the Simon Bolivar International Airport outside Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, on Monday. They are expected to perform perform joint flights with Venezuela’s Air Force.

“Nobody in the world” should be afraid of the presence of Russian bombers in Venezuela because Caracas and Moscow “are builders of peace, not war,” Venezuelan Defense Minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez said as cited by local El Universal paper.

Lopez also said that a delegation from Moscow is expected to arrive in the country to help the Venezuelan military to optimize the use of Russian military equipment.

The Russian planes traveled to Venezuela less than a week after the country’s President Nicolas Maduro visited Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin.

It’s not the first time the Tu-160s (NATO reporting name ‘Blackjack’) are seen in Venezuela as the strategic bombers already visited it in 2008 and 2013.

https://www.rt.com/news/446108-russian-bombers-venezuela-norway/
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