Putin Plays Hardball

The New York Times, Tuesday, November 18, 2014

OP-ED 

Putin Plays Hardball, by Joe Nocera

…In July 2013, Russia put Bill Browder, a dispossessed billionaire, and his deceased–in prison–lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky on trial.  “The two men were accused of tax evasion going back to 2001–despite the fact that the statute of limitation in Russia for tax evasion is 10 years.  It was the first posthumous trial in Russia history…To the surprise of no one, Magnitsky and Browder were both convicted, one posthumously and the other in absentia.”

Bill Browder, with a nine-year sentence, has been put on “Interpol’s ‘Red Notice’ list–which is a kind of international wanted-poster for fugitives.  The idea is that when a person on the list is arrested in one country, he of she would be handed over to the country where he or she is wanted…

You would think that Putin’s government has enough to worry about these days, between the crisis in Ukraine, western sanctions, and the fall of oil, which could push the Russian economy into recession.  But, apparently, there is always time to attack Bill Browder.”

Putin is tough, as are his “cronies,” especially on people who try to expose Russian corruption. He plays hardball, but a different kind than that played by baseball players.

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