5. The American who made Putin Furious
In December 2013, Mikhail Khodorkovsky is pardoned by Putin for humanitarian reasons: his mother is sick. But whilst Khodorkovsky is released, others still remain in jail, or even worse, have been killed, by the Putin regime. In this episode we explore some of those victims of Putin’s corruption. Yukos employees such as Vasiliy Aleksanyan who have died as a result of their incarceration, and the longest serving political prisoner, Alexei Pichugin. We then hear from Bill Browder, a man that angered Vladimir Putin so much that he was namechecked in the first summit meeting between Putin and President Trump. Bill Browder was doing business in Russia. He was targeted in a corporate identity theft, his companies were stolen and the $230 million tax he’d paid to the Russian government was refunded back to shell companies fraudulently. His lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, investigated and figured it out. And instead of being rewarded for working out what had happened, he was arrested, thrown into jail and eventually brutally murdered by prison guards. Bill Browder now dedicates his life to getting the Magnitsky Act passed around the world: a law designed to freeze assets of human rights offenders and bans them from entering the country that imposes the act. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.