Freezing Order

by Bill Browder

Publishers Weekly Financier and political activist Browder returns with a riveting follow-up to his bestseller Red Notice, which recounted how his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was “taken hostage by corrupt Russian officials and ultimately killed in jail” for exposing a $230 million tax fraud scheme. Through impressive financial sleuthing and with the help of a Barron’s reporter, a Russian whistleblower (who was later poisoned), an East European watchdog, and others, Browder—who managed a hedge fund in Russia worth $4.5 billion from 1996 until 2005, when Putin expelled him as a threat to national security—traces the dirty money trail from bank accounts in the Baltics and Cyprus to posh real estate in Manhattan. His goal is to persuade European and American political leaders and bank chiefs to freeze Russian assets and to adopt measures like the 2016 Magnitsky Act, but as his successes mount, so does Russian pushback. Browder documents threatening encounters with lawyers, mobsters, and intelligence agents; the Kremlin disinformation campaign that accused him of stealing the $230 million; and his hiring of bodyguards and wielding of social media to protect himself and his family. Though some of the financial and legal matters are hard to grasp, this is an eye-opening exposť of the lengths Putin’s cronies will go to hide their crimes and punish their accusers. (Apr.)

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Kirkus The thrilling follow-up to the author’s bestselling debut, Red Notice. Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, was one of the leading investors in Russia during the 2000s, and his strategy of “stealing analysis” made Hermitage one of the leading hedge funds in the world. “Instead of analyzing companies’ income statements and balance sheets like normal fund managers,” he writes, “my team and I would research how much was being stolen, how the thieves were doing the stealing, and who pocketed the stolen money. We would then use this information to file lawsuits [and] launch proxy fights.” When his Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was beaten to death in a Moscow jail in 2009, the author sought to bring the murderers to justice. That crusade, along with his investigation into a $230 million tax refund scheme that significantly affected Hermitage’s business, made him an enemy of dangerous Russian oligarchs, including Putin, and he was thrown out of the country. From that point, Browder worked diligently to get to the bottom of the Russian coverup, a journey that took him around Europe and eventually to New York. Along the way, he encountered a number of unsavory characters, including John Moscow, who “had been at the New York District Attorney’s Office for 33 years and was one of their most aggressive prosecutors” before switching sides to defend the Russian oligarchs; Glenn Simpson, a “well-connected and effective smear campaigner”; and former U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who, along with the others, helped “lubricate that machine that allows Putin and his cronies to get away with their crimes.” In 2012, Browder’s quest found some success in the passage of the Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders—and a version of which is now in place in more than 30 countries. The author’s story, a must-read for fans of Red Notice, is revealing and damning, exposing Putin and his minions as little more than greedy international criminals. A timely book combining mystifying financial shenanigans with a fast-paced crime saga. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal In his New York Times best-selling Red Notice, Browder chronicled his founding of Hermitage Capital Management in post-communist Russia and the 2009 murder of his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in prison in 2009 after uncovering a $230 million fraud traceable to the Russian government. His new book explains how that fraud benefited Putin directly and how Putin has retaliated when Browder tried to make him accountable. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

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