In November 2008, Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian auditor working on behalf of Hermitage Capital Management, was jailed after his investigation into massive tax fraud linked the crime to Russian state officials. He died after almost a year of neglect and abuse in a Russian prison, without ever being tried.
Since then, Hermitage CEO Bill Browder has been working to bring justice to the Russian officials he believes are responsible for Magnitsky’s death by convincing other countries to impose sanctions on them.
He’s had some success, most notably in the United States, which in 2012 introduced the Magnitsky Act, sanctioning at least 18 individuals. In Canada, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler has introduced a similar private member’s bill, which has not been passed.
Bill Browder is currently in Canada trying to build political support for sanctions against Russians linked to Magnitsky’s death. He spoke to Maclean’s in Ottawa about what he feels he owes Magnitisky, the efficacy of sanctions, and Russia’s ongoing human rights violations.