Interfax: Defense finish reviewing evidence in Browder, Cherkasov dossier

File Photo of William Browder Seated at Table with Microphone as Woman Listens, with Image Watermark Saying Presented by Library of Congress with U.S. House of Representatives Seal, adapted from image at house.gov

MOSCOW. July 22 (Interfax) – The materials concerning Hermitage Capital Management co-founder William Browder and his business partner Ivan Cherkasov were sent for approval to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, the defense lawyer Alexander Antipov said on Thursday.

“The defense finished reviewing the case files, currently, the dossier has been sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office but I don’t think that an indictment might be approved. After I signed the protocol of having familiarized myself with the case materials, I filed about 30 petitions about irregularities in this case,” Antipov said.

The Federal Tax Service (FNS) of Russia, as the affected party, filed a three-billion-ruble lawsuit against the respondents, the lawyer said.

“The sum of the FNS lawsuit matches to the sum of damage stated in the investigator’s resolution. We are talking about more than three billion rubles. However, this is a preliminary suit, [the figure] could be increased,” Antipov said.

Investigators gave the defense just 59 volumes to read, he said. “I open the first volume, and it says there that an expert in the case was given about 300 volumes. The question is, where have the other 250 [volumes] gone?” Antipov said.

This violates his client’s right to defense since it leaves him without the possibility to review all of the evidence gathered, the defense lawyer said.

Browder was indicted for tax evasion, organizing deliberate bankruptcy, attempted non-fulfillment of a tax agent’s obligations; Cherkasov is accused of complicity in these offenses, Antipov said.

The case “has been made into a separate proceeding from another case that already convicted Browder and Sergei Magnitsky who worked for Hermitage Capital and died in Moscow jail,” Antipov said. The men were accused of failing to pay company taxes on several firms and bankrupting these later, he said.

“This case dates back to 2004 and has been probed for about 13 years now. Investigators believe that the accused did not pay taxes on the operations of several [limited liability] companies by subsequently bankrupting these firms. Three tax authorities in Moscow were declared an affected party,” Antipov said.

On February 17 a district court granted an investigator’s petition and ordered in-absentia arrest of Browder and Cherkasov.

It was reported that the court had ordered two-month arrests of Browder and Cherkasov, starting from their transfer to Russian law enforcement authorities, in the event of extradition or deportation to Russia, or from their actual apprehension on Russian territory. Both were previously placed by investigators on the international wanted list.

[featured image is file photo]