Hermitage Capital CEO: Russia Paid Company That Made Trump Dossier

Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City

Bill Browder is a financier with an extensive history of dealings in Russian Federation, and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday is worth reading in full because the machinations are complicated.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has long called for answers on Fusion GPS's failure to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and its creation of the Trump dossier. Reportedly sourced from the Kremlin, the dossier received initial financial support from anti-Trump Republicans before it was taken over and distributed by Democrats.

Consequently, in 2012, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed a law forbidding the Russian officials involved in Magnitsky's death from entering the U.S.

Bill Browder was a Wall Street investor in the early nineties, and founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, a hedge fund. Starting in 1996, Hermitage began investing heavily in Russian stocks in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the new growth of post-Soviet private industry.

Magnitsky learned that Browder's company, along with many others, were being seized by Putin and his cronies so they could steal tax money, then launder it through foreign banks and real estate companies around the world, including ones in NY.

Fusion GPS was apparently representing these same Putin-connected interests when they were involved in arranging the controversial meeting Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had with Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Russian intelligence officer and naturalized American citizen, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya previous year. His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in Russian custody after investigating the affair, ultimately leading Browder to work with Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which levied targeted sanctions against powerful players in Russia. Fusion has maintained, however, that it "did not spread false information about William Browder or Sergei Magnitsky".

Browder - a former hedge fund manager who spearheaded the passage of the Magnitsky Act after his tax lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, died in a Russian prison in 2009 - alleged in a complaint filed with the Treasury Department previous year that Fusion's work for the U.S. law firm BakerHostetler violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act because it served Russian government interests.

The complaint Browder filed on July 21 alleges that Rohrabacher "made personal introductions for lobbyists advocating the Russian government's and Grin's position against the Magnitsky Act".

Veselnitskaya once represented a military unit run by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), the country's primary intelligence agency. "That is why FARA must be enforced consistently and evenhandedly, otherwise it won't be taken seriously". Through his lawyers, he communicated his intention to invoke his right not to testify under the Fifth Amendment.

"I suspect a number of journalists, and one in particular, were operating so far outside the bounds of normal journalistic integrity there must have been some incentive for them to do it coming from Fusion GPS", he said. Halvorssen also provides detailed accusations about how Fusion GPS is intimidating reporters from reporting the truth about the scheme.

Grassley noted that the number of people who registered as foreign agents has dropped significantly in recent years so that only 400 are now on the Justice Department's rolls.

The Department of Justice is tasked with the oversight of foreign agents. Fusion GPS has said it played no role in that meeting.

Browder faced Congress alone Thursday, though the committee had initially invited Manafort and Trump Jr.to appear to discuss their meeting. Trump Jr. and Kushner struck deals to avoid having to testify openly.

In exchange for his testimony, the committee will drop the subpoena they issued last week. She [Veselnitskaya] said it. "This is just an addition to it at the end".

Fusion's work on the dossier reportedly began last June after a supporter of Hillary Clinton's hired the firm to investigate Trump's ties to Russian Federation.

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