Bill Browder Biography & Facts
William Felix Browder (born April 23, 1964) is an American-born British financier and political activist. He is the CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital Management, the investment advisor to the Hermitage Fund, which at one time was the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. The Hermitage Fund was founded in partnership with Republic National Bank, with $25 million in seed capital. The fund, and associated accounts, eventually grew to $4.5 billion of assets under management. In 1997, the Hermitage Fund was the best-performing fund in the world, up 238%. The primary investment strategy of Browder was shareholder rights activism. Browder took on large Russian companies such as Gazprom, Surgutneftegaz, Unified Energy Systems, and Sidanco. In retaliation, on November 13, 2005, Browder was refused entry to Russia, deported to the UK, and declared a threat to Russian national security.Eighteen months after Browder was deported, on June 4, 2007, Hermitage Capital's offices in Moscow were raided by twenty-five officers of Russia's Interior Ministry. Twenty-five more officers raided the Moscow office of Browder's American law firm, Firestone Duncan, seizing the corporate registration documents for Hermitage's investment holding companies. Browder assigned Sergei Magnitsky, head of the tax practice at Firestone Duncan, to investigate the purpose of the raid. Magnitsky discovered that while those documents were in the custody of the police, they had been used to fraudulently re-register Hermitage's holding companies to the name of an ex-convict. Magnitsky was subsequently arrested by Russian authorities and died in prison, having been denied proper medical treatment.
The reregistration of the Hermitage holding companies was an intermediate step before the perpetrators used those companies to apply for a fraudulent $230 million tax refund, awarded on December 24, 2007.After Magnitsky's death, Browder lobbied for Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, a law to punish Russian human rights violators, which was signed into law in 2012 by President Barack Obama. In 2013, both Magnitsky and Browder were tried in absentia in Russia for tax fraud. Both men—Magnitsky had died four years prior—were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. Interpol rejected Russian requests to arrest Browder, saying the case was political. In 2014, the European Parliament voted for sanctions against 30 Russians believed complicit in the Magnitsky case; this was the first time it had taken such action.
On October 21, 2017, the Russian government attempted to place Browder on Interpol's arrest list of criminal fugitives, the fifth such request, which Interpol eventually rejected on October 26, 2017. After the initial request, Browder's visa waiver for the United States was automatically suspended. After a bipartisan protest by U.S. Congressional leaders, his visa waiver was restored the following day. While visiting Spain in May 2018, Browder was arrested by Spanish authorities on a new Russian Interpol warrant and transferred to an undisclosed Spanish police station. He was released two hours later, after Interpol confirmed that this was a political case.
Early life and education
William Felix Browder was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and he grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son of mathematician Felix Browder, and the grandson of Earl Browder. He attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, before transferring to the University of Chicago, from which he graduated with a degree in economics. He earned an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1989 and entered the financial sector.
Browder's paternal grandfather Earl Browder was born in Kansas in 1891. He was a radical and had lived in the Soviet Union for several years from 1927 and married Raisa Berkman, a Jewish Russian woman while living there. After his return to the United States in 1931, Earl Browder became the leader of the Communist Party USA from 1930 to 1945 and ran for U.S. president in 1936 and 1940. After World War II, Browder lost favor with Moscow and was expelled from the U.S. Communist Party.Earl and his wife Raisa had three children, all sons, and all three became mathematicians who headed the mathematics departments of top American universities including Bill Browder's father Felix Browder who married Eva (Tislowitz). Felix was a mathematics prodigy who had entered MIT at 16, acquired his bachelor's degree in two years, and by the age of 20 received a Ph.D. from Princeton. But during the McCarthy era, he could not find work because he was the son of the onetime head of the Communist Party USA. After a series of job rejections in the 1950s, he was championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, the former First Lady who was then chairman of the board of Brandeis University; she overrode the rest of the board who were afraid to hire him, and he gained a position at Brandeis. Felix went on to chair the mathematics department at the University of Chicago, and in 1999 became the president of the American Mathematical Society.Felix Browder was renowned in the field of nonlinear functional analysis—a branch of mathematics with wide applications to such fields as physics, engineering, and finance. He was instrumental in establishing a science and technology center in conjunction with Princeton University and Bell Labs. In 1999, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Bill Clinton, for his "key role in the explosive growth of nonlinear functional analysis and its applications to partial differential equations in recent years".Bill Browder has one sibling, Tom Browder, who entered the University of Chicago at 15, and became a leading particle physicist. Bill Browder's son Joshua is the founder of DoNotPay, a startup that helps to automate certain legal services.
Career and citizenship
Browder started his career in the Eastern European practice of the Boston Consulting Group in London, then worked for Robert Maxwell's MCC conglomerate, and after that managed the Russian proprietary investments desk at Salomon Brothers.In 1999, Browder received naturalization as a British citizen. Meanwhile, he relinquished his U.S. citizenship in 1998. He cited that he did so because of "a legacy of bad feeling about the rule of law" as a result of his family having been "viciously persecuted" by U.S. authorities in the 1950s, citing especially his communist grandfather, Earl Browder who was imprisoned twice during the era of McCarthyism.
Hermitage Capital Management
Browder and Edmond Safra (1932–1999) founded Hermitage Capital Management in 1996 for the purpose of investing initial seed capital of $25 million in Russia during the period of the mass privatization after the fall of the Soviet Union. Beny Steinmetz was another of the original investors in Hermitage.Following the Russian financial crisis of 1998, Browder remained committed to Hermitage's original mission of investing in Russia, despite sign.... Discover the Bill Browder popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Bill Browder books.