Today Week Month

The Failing Mafia State

Start/End Thursday, December 06, 2012 05:30 PM EST -- 08:00 PM EST
Location Name JG Annex Lounge 5:30-6:00; JGH 103 6:00-8:00

Please join the Harriman Institute and Columbia Law's Center on Global Legal Transformation for a talk by William Browder (Founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management).

Registration is required


Ian Hague (Co-Founder, Firebird Management)

Kimberly Marten (Acting Director, Harriman Institute and Professor of Political Science, Barnard College)

William Browder is the Founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management. He was the largest foreign investor in Russia and a Putin supporter until November 2005, when he was suddenly expelled from the country and declared a "threat to national security" by the Russian government. The reasons for these actions remain unclear, but were probably retaliation for Browder's accusations about corruption in large state-controlled firms where he was a minority shareholder. His holdings and employees in Russia came under increasing attack. In 2008, his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, announced his discovery that $230 million in state taxes paid by Hermitage in 2006 had been stolen in a bogus tax refund scheme by a group of Russian officials working with organized criminals. Magnitsky was arrested and imprisoned without trial, accused of perpetrating the fraud himself on behalf of his client, and pressured to confess. Denied medical treatment for his growing health problems despite numerous requests, Magnitsky died in prison after a severe beating in November 2009, at the age of 37. Since then Browder has led a tireless legal and legislative campaign in the United States and Europe to punish the individuals responsible for Magnitsky's arrest and death. Hermitage today is based in London, where it continues to invest in emerging markets.

This event is part of our 2012-13 "Corruption and Patronage" core project. The project examines these issues both within Eurasian societies and comparatively, and asks the provocative question: do corruption and patron/client favoritism always impede progress, or are they a way to get things done in societies that lack well institutionalized legal systems?

The program will begin with a reception at 5:30 in
Jerome Greene Annex, followed by the talk in 103 Jerome Greene Hall.