Why is the Russian president so fixated on the Magnitsky Act?

There are two reasons, according to Browder:

* The first is purely financial. Browder believes Putin is the richest man in the world, with an assortment of assets worth what Browder estimates to be $200 billion at his disposal, but those assets are “held all over the world” including in America. When the accounts of Putin’s intermediaries are frozen because of the law, that is in effect, freezing some of Putin’s cash flow as well.

* The second is that the banking sanctions imposed by the law devalue Putin’s promises, and so decrease his power. Putin gets his intermediaries to “arrest, kidnap, torture and kill” by promising absolute impunity, Browder said. But the law’s sanctions create a tangible consequence. Not only do the sanctions affect violators vis-a-vis their U.S. dealings, but, internationally, other banks abide by a sanctions list put out by the Treasury Department that includes those found to have violated the Magnitsky Act, Browder explained to lawmakers. “As a result, you basically become a financial pariah,” he said.

“This is a war of ideology between rule of law and criminality,” Browder also told the senators. “And if we allow all the corrupt money to come here, then it’s going to corrupt us until we end up like them.”

Businessman Paints A Terrifying And Complex Picture Of Vladimir Putin’s Russia

This should be a major story with deep reporting to back it up. 

The tl;dr, based on Browder’s testimony: Putin and the Oligarchy in Russia have billions in assets that are frozen in American banks, because of the Magnitsky Act. It appears quite likely that the Trump organization has been laundering a significant amount of their money through its real estate holdings for years. That may be why Cheeto Hitler is panicking so much about Mueller looking closely at his finances.

Take a moment and read the full article (it’s a quick read) so you’re ahead of the curve on what should become a major story in the coming weeks.

(via wilwheaton)

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