Russian President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to call out Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder’s acquaintances for supposedly dodging tax payments while discussing alleged collusion during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
“Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia,” said Putin via an interpreter. “They never paid any taxes -- neither in Russia or the United States and yet the money escaped the country.”
According to Putin, Browder’s associates contributed $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign—and while the contribution itself may have been legal, he said, “the way the money was earned was illegal.”
“So we have a solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions,” Putin added.
During an interview with FOX Business anchor Liz Claman on “Countdown to the Closing Bell” on Friday, the financier and vocal Putin critic called Putin a “pipsqueak” and said the Russian president should not be given the opportunity to share an equal stage with the leader of the free world after invading foreign countries and meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Browder, who became Russia’s leading investor by being a shareholder activist who exposed corruption, worked with Congress to get the Magnitsky Act passed, preventing foreigners who violate human rights from entering the U.S. The Magnitsky Act is named after Browder’s Russian accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison under suspicious circumstances amid allegations of physical torture.