"Simpson described (Browder) as “known now for setting up offshore companies for drug kingpins, narcos, kleptos, you name it."
Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson ripped British financier Bill Browder in his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Community on August 22nd, according to the full transcript of his interview that was released today.
In the 312-page document, which Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released unilaterally this afternoon after a series of disputes over whether it should be made public, Simpson forcefully attacked Browder’s credibility. Citing research he has conducted on Browder’s business history in Russia, the former Wall Street Journal reporter made various bombshell allegations against Browder such as corruption, fraud, and money laundering. Moreover, Simpson contends that these revelations raise serious questions about the motives of one of the world’s leading anti-Putin activists.
Simpson alleges that when he first met Browder, he was “working on a story about Vladimir Putin corruption” at the Wall Street Journal, whereas Browder was still a prominent investor pouring money into Russian companies and a strong supporter of Putin. “[Browder] lectured me about how Vladimir Putin was not corrupt and how he was the best thing that ever happened to Russia,” Simpson told the committee:
Browder has since emerged as one of the most vocal Putin critics in the world. The Hermitage Capital Management CEO and co-founder, who now lives in London, is the self-professed driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which seeks to financially punish human rights violators in Russia. Both Newsweek and GQ have recently dubbed him “Putin’s Enemy Number One.”
However, Simpson’s highly anticipated Senate Intelligence interview shed light on Browder’s past business dealings in Russia, which Simpson says he investigated and subsequently found to be full of fraud.
Simpson claims he discovered Browder had created “shell companies” to launder money and avoid paying Russian taxes, some of which were incorporated in the Caribbean using the notorious Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama. Simpson described the firm as “known now for setting up offshore companies for drug kingpins, narcos, kleptos, you name it. They were servicing every bad guy around. And I’m familiar with them from other money laundering and corruption and tax evasion investigations that I’ve done.”
Simpson claims Browder’s hedge fund subsequently transferred shares to these “shell companies,” which were apparently not limited to the Caribbean. Rather, Browder “also set up shell companies inside of Russia in order to avoid paying taxes in Russia and he set up shell companies in a remote republic called Kalmykia,” according to Simpson:
Furthermore, Simpson, whose research firm is currently fighting efforts in federal court to unseal its financial transactions to journalists and media companies, testified that his investigative work confirmed the Russian government learned of Browder’s alleged financial crimes and punished him severely. “What we learned is that they got in trouble for this eventually because one of Putin’s primary rules for business was you can do a lot of things, but you’ve got to pay your taxes,” Simpson said to the committee. “Ultimately they were caught, some of these companies were prosecuted, and he was forced to make an enormous tax payment to the government of Russia in 2006.”
Just last week, Browder attacked Simpson’s credibility, alleging he worked for Russian government interests intent on repealing the Magnitisky Act at the same time he was compiling the infamous anti-Russian dossier on Donald Trump:
At the time of this article’s publication, Browder had yet to publicly respond to the released transcript of Simpson’s testimony.