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Producers' Pick | Bill Browder: Putin is a war criminal, should not be engaged with

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2023 12:00 am

Producers' Pick | Bill Browder: Putin is a war criminal, should not be engaged with

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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May 14, 2023 12:00 am

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Line of Fire
Dr. Michael Brown

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Pre-order Diablo IV Ultimate Edition on Xbox and get up to four days early access. Read an M for Mature. Hey, we're back. We're always great to have Bill Browder back in studio. Hermitage Capital CEO, Head of Global McGinsky Justice Campaign. New York Times bestselling author. His latest book, Freezing Order, a true story of money laundering, murder and surviving Vladimir Putin's wrath.

Now available on paperback and I'm holding it up if you're watching Fox Nation. Bill, great to see you. Great to be here. It's always good to weigh in with you because just for people to understand how you're linked to Russia. First off, you went there as an investor, correct?

You were doing business. A lot of people were doing business in Russia. They had great hopes for what Russia would be after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Yeah, it all looked good. We thought that this was going to turn into a normal country and it was all very inexpensive. All these stocks were trading at like bargain basement prices and we thought if it becomes a normal country, we're going to make a lot of money and it's all going to be really great. The problem was that it didn't turn into a normal country. It turned into a massive Putin led kleptocracy, where Putin became the biggest mafia boss in the world. He was stealing everything hand over fist and anybody who tried to complain about it ended up getting kicked out. I was kicked out for publicly complaining.

Who were you living? I was living in Moscow at the time and I got kicked out. My offices were raided. They seized our documents. And the next thing that happened was the documents were used in a complex scam and fraud, where they stole $230 million of taxes that my firm paid to the Russian government. I had a young lawyer named Sergei Magnitsky. He discovered the fraud. He exposed it. He testified against the officials involved and then he was arrested, tortured for 358 days and murdered back in 2009 at the age of 37 in Russian police custody.

What did you do in his name? I got a piece of legislation passed called the Magnitsky Act, named after Sergei Magnitsky. It freezes the assets and bans the visas of the kleptocrats and human rights violators in the Putin regime. The Magnitsky Act was passed in the United States in 2012.

It has been since passed in 35 countries, including the UK, EU, Australia, Canada, various other places. And Putin is just furious about this legislation because he's a guy who commits human rights abuses, keeps a lot of money offshore, and I've put that money at risk. And he values money more than human life. So in that time, we remember the Magnitsky Act was front and center. Number one, John McCain helped pass it. Number two is, and he loved it because he saw Vladimir Putin as the enemy you do. And then it became pretty apparent because they tried to get to the Trump campaign and tried to get rid of the Magnitsky Act in exchange for re-releasing adoption, allowing Americans to adopt Russian kids again. So that's when the Magnitsky Act was like, well, what is that act?

And then we're realizing what you did. Well, and in fact, at the Helsinki Summit in 2018, Putin was so angry at me for getting the Magnitsky Act passed that he asked Trump to hand me over. I mean, you know, and it was in the press conference. Putin said, you know, we'll hand over the 12 military intelligence officers who have been indicted in America if you hand over Bill Browder.

And everyone says, who's Bill Browder? All of a sudden, I knew. And I watched.

Of the 8 billion people on the planet, Putin name-checked me. Only one. What were your thoughts then? Well, two things. The first was it's not very pleasant to be, you know, asked to be handed over. But it was also not unexpected because Putin has been, since the Magnitsky Act has been passed, he's been chasing me around the world with death threats, with kidnapping threats, 8 Interpol arrest warrants, extradition requests, lawsuits, movies. They were doing everything to try to get me, target me, ruin my life. And so it wasn't unexpected, but it was certainly not pleasant. Right.

And now that's what freezing order is about, right? What has happened? It's been 10 years since he's been coming after you? Well, it's basically since Sergei Magnitsky was murdered 13 years ago. I've been on this campaign to get justice for Sergei. And the campaign has led to all these things that he's been chasing me for 13 years.

It's just been going on and on. So freezing order is all about the second part of our campaign. So the Magnitsky Act was the first part. The second part was who got the money?

Who got the $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky was killed over? And we started tracing the money. And we got whistleblowers.

We had data leaks. We had criminal investigations. And every time we would find money, we would apply to the law enforcement agencies of the country where the money was and they would freeze it.

And that's what a freezing order is. And we've frozen about $60 million of the $230 million. We found some of the money here in the U.S.

The Department of Justice issued a freezing order over a whole bunch of apartments in Lower Manhattan that were used, where they used the money that Sergei Magnitsky was killed over. And there's investigations and money frozen in France and Spain and Switzerland and Lithuania, Latvia, all over. Whose money is it?

It belongs to all sorts of people. People generally connected to the Putin regime. But there's one person in particular who got the money. Vladimir Putin. We were able to trace some of the money to Vladimir Putin himself. How good a job, if at all, has the West done in freezing Vladimir Putin's assets and other oligarchs' goods? Well, so Putin doesn't hold any money in his own name.

All the money is held in other people's names. And generally, it's held in the name of Russian oligarchs. And I should point out, people often ask me, are there any good oligarchs out there?

And the answer is no. In order to be an oligarch, you've got to do a deal with the devil. You've got to do a deal with Putin. He gets half the money. So the way you freeze Putin's money is you freeze the oligarchs' money.

So far, we've done a pretty good job. We've frozen about 40 oligarchs' assets. But I think there's a total of 118 people on the Russian Forbes list, and they should all have their money frozen. So interesting. So here's what Donald Trump said the other night about what's going on in the war.

Cut 32. Do you believe that Putin is a war criminal? He's responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. Well, I think this is something that should not be discussed now. It should be discussed later. Because right now, we have to get a war. If you say he's a war criminal, it's going to be a lot tougher to make a deal to get this thing stopped. Because if he's going to be a war criminal, where people are going to go and grab him and execute him, he's going to fight a lot harder than he's fighting, you know, under the other circumstance.

That's something to be discussed at a later date. Right now, we want to get that war settled. So what are your thoughts about his? Well, I mean, I know Putin probably better than just about anybody in the world because I've been fighting with him for 13 years. Putin doesn't negotiate.

There's no discussion to be had. Putin, all he does, and he never compromises, never negotiates, never discusses. All he does is lies and escalates. And so, you know, Putin is a war criminal. He's a murderer. He's someone who needs to be defeated, not engaged with. So, yeah, right now, from when we first talked about this war just started and now over a year in, describe how much prestige and power Vladimir Putin has lost.

Well, Putin, he went into this war, in my opinion, just to gain power. So when he took Crimea, his approval rating shot up and he thought this is pretty good. Without a shot basically. Yeah, without a shot fired.

It was a great deal. He went up to 83% approval rating. And since then, things have been deteriorating and deteriorating. He went through COVID and the economy and all this kind of stuff. He saw a bunch of his other dictators in neighboring countries losing their positions. And Putin is a guy who understands very clearly that if he loses his job, there's no Putin presidential library to retire to. He can't just go and do paintings and enjoy all of his stolen money. Like Obama. He's not saying he stole money, but he can enjoy his retirement. Or like George W. Bush, who does nice painting and having a good time. That's not going to happen.

That's not going to happen. If Putin loses power, he loses his money, he goes to jail and he dies. And so for Putin, this is like the scariest thing in the world.

And he's a scared little man. And so the reason he went into this war is not because of NATO or some grand vision of Russian expansionism or something like that. He went to this war because he wanted to stay alive and he wanted to push his approval ratings back up. And he thought, OK, he's going to go into war. He's going to invade Ukraine.

Zelensky is going to hop on the first U.S. military helicopter to western Ukraine. And three days later, it's all going to be over. And this has turned into the worst quagmire, the biggest disaster Putin could have ever imagined. He's lost more than 200,000 soldiers. It's a complete mess. Bill Bratter, our guest, who named his book down on paperback, Freezing Order.

You're 100 percent right. And now in Bakhmoud, in the actual battle itself, it was supposed to take Bakhmoud and get closer in the winter and just punish Ukrainians who were just going to hold in the winter. They can't get Bakhmoud. And Wagner Group is so frustrated. They came out and said, since we can't get any ammunition, we can't get ammo, we can't get back up, we're out of here. So there's quickly they tried to ameliorate the situation, but there's obviously friction between the mercenaries, the Wagner Group and between regular army. And they lost ground over the last few days to the Ukrainians who are moving forward in that region.

And the counteroffensive hasn't even begun yet. I think that basically they've run out of soldiers. I think that there are no I mean, the Wagner guys have been decimated. They think they've lost more people in the last month in Bakhmoud than they lost in the entire Afghanistan thing, you know, over 10 years. Right.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. See, everyone's like, look out for the Wagner Group. Really? They're recruiting in prisons. How elite are they? Well, they're better than the regular army. The regular army, like nobody wants to be there at all, at least in the, from Prigozhin's perspective.

He's the head of the Wagner Group. He can get like trained killers because these guys are all in jail for murder. That's better than just, you know, some guy who is like a computer programmer who gets drafted into the army. Right. I'm thinking of our quality Navy SEALs. Oh, you know, I mean, these guys are terrible at across the board and they can't even I mean, you know, Russia defined Ukraine as some kind of like non-existent, you know, pseudo country. And all of a sudden, these guys are as mean and tough and aggressive as anyone they could have ever encountered. Oh, they know how to fight.

And they were Western trained. And it looks like we played a role in that. But here's what bothers me is that in the beginning, we're not going to give them high Mars. We gave them high Mars. In the beginning, we're not going to give them fighter jets. They got fighter jets elsewhere. Now that we're not going to give you cruise missiles, we're not going to give you Patriots.

We gave them Patriots. How many people died while we went back on our word and changed our mind? Why can't we make a comprehensive decision? Because losing is not an option for the West either. You're so you couldn't be more right.

I mean, this is you're so, so right. It was shameful. We could have given all this stuff at the very beginning. We could have created a no fly zone. We could have given them the F-16s. We could have given them the tanks and and, you know, we still to this day are not giving them long range artillery. But the British attack comes with the British are. And so what's and I read the other day and I don't know if it's true or not, but I read the other day that some that the Russians call this up and said, oh, there's a red line if you do that.

Well, who are the Russians to tell us where the red line is? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I 100 percent agree with that. The thing that I think the world has to understand that we should have learned for hundreds of years of knowledge is that our enemies, who are China and Russia, every time we try to acquiesce and rationalize, they look at it as weakness. You're right. And you have to not treat it like we're dealing with France and England.

We can rationalize. France got mad about the nuclear missile sales. Australia said, we're not getting from you again and from America. They were furious.

They pulled back their ambassador. We made up. We talked to him. We're pretending as if we can do that with China and Russia. And we can't.

You can't. And the one thing I would say about this whole conflict in Ukraine for anybody who says that that we shouldn't be in Ukraine or we shouldn't give them what they need is that Russia is is either tied for number one or the number two adversary to the United States and to the West. We can supply spend five percent of our military budget, not lose a single American or British or European soldier. And we can basically eliminate this enemy for the next twenty five years. It seems like a pretty good deal to me.

It is a good deal. But the president of the United States has to do a good job explaining to the American people every chance he gets. This is what we're doing. It's a small portion. It's one half of one percent of our military budget, a small portion. That's what's happening. Yeah. Would I like to see the Europeans give more?

But General Keane broke it down for me. He says, if you think about it in terms of what they're doing in training, what they're not doing in dollars, he thinks France should be giving more in Germany. The U.K. is doing a lot. Sweden stepping up.

My goodness. The worst nightmare just happened of Vladimir Putin. Dreaded NATO is ending Finland and eventually Sweden. That is his worst nightmare because that's his big complaint and fear about Ukraine.

I mean, he was he was worried about NATO expanding. Well, he's just got a 500 mile border with Finland. And by the way, the Finns know how to fight. I mean, if they are not afraid. Well, I mean, nobody wants to be at war. But but the Finns have already been through this with Russia and they pushed the Russians back.

They successfully fought off the Russians back in 1939. I mean, it's they know what they're doing in the Finns. So listen, Bill Browder's here. One more segment is called Freezing Order, a true story of money laundering, murder and surviving Vladimir Putin's wrath.

A lot of people ask, what do you really like? Is he really that bad? Bill knows. And he breaks it down is in real life, real life thriller. He wish it wasn't so thrilling, but it is.

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Learn more at Vonage dot com. Breaking news, unique opinions. Hear it all on the Brian Kilmeade show. So Bill Browder has been one of the probably the number one enemy of Vladimir Putin because he continues to surround him everywhere he can and stop him financially however he can.

His book Freezing Orders now out on paperback, a true story of money laundering, murder and surviving Vladimir Putin's wrath. How would you characterize his health and his political future right now? Well, his health is it's hard to know.

I mean, it doesn't look great. He doesn't. He's he definitely doesn't look great in the in the rumors are abounding that he's not well, that he's he's got cancer, Parkinson's, this that.

Who knows? I don't know about his health. But what I can tell you is that he's really out on a limb politically. I mean, and the way I can tell you this is just to look at how scared he is of any type of opposition.

So I've got a friend, a close friend of mine. His name is Vladimir Kara Morza. He is a Russian opposition activist. He went on to CNN and MSNBC and criticized Putin at the beginning of the war from Russia. They just sentenced him to twenty five years in prison for treason.

And so is he there? He's in jail for treason right now. He's sitting in jail, suffering in jail for treason and for treason. And what is his treason?

Calling Putin a war criminal, saying that Putin is a murderer. Yeah, of course. And then the Wall Street Journal reporter, they just scooped up Paul Whale and they're holding on to. And we are making it clear that we're willing to swap again. We said as much as I want the Wall Street Journal reporter back, the fact that they feel they can do it. And now we have to go collect Russians, put them into our custody and then swap for them. Should we? Well, I mean, I'm I'm I can think about Vladimir Kara Morza and him dying in jail and I want to get him out of jail.

And so what would you do for you? Yeah. Yeah. Look at Navalny. Yeah. I mean, he's and so should we swap?

I don't know. I mean, I think that to a certain extent, the reason why they grabbed Evan Gershowitz is because they got such a good deal on on Brittany Griner. You know, they got a sort of a world renowned arms dealer in exchange for a girl who had a little pot on her. That arms dealer came out and said that Donald Trump is welcome in Russia if he wants, because he understands how badly he's being treated here. How is the perception of this government in Russia, do you think? Well, I mean, I think that Russia is just furious with with America and the U.K. and just about everywhere right now, because, you know, we're supplying weapons. We're sanctioning Putin and and they're suffering. And by the way, it's really important. Putin claims, oh, the sanctions aren't working. Everything is going well.

Don't worry. You know, it's not it's a disaster over there. South Africa is choosing to supply weapons.

Why would they do that? I think that there must be somebody getting a big bribe in South Africa, because South Africa, I think if you take the if you look at who do they make money off, who do they sell stuff to? I think less, less than one percent gets sold to Russia of their of their goods. Forty percent goes to America, Europe, Japan, all the good guys. And so why would they be like flushing their economic future down the toilet?

Somebody must be getting a bribe. The one that's got to back out is India. I know India, they have a military relationship and they hate China, but that we have to pressure India.

Well, I think we have to pressure everybody, because like back in the days when I was I went around the world telling everyone Putin's a murderer, that guy. And it was a week. We were doing business with Russia. It's crazy.

Pick up Freezing Order. You'll really understand what's going on. Bill Bratter, always great to see you. The Fearless and Proud podcast series looks at acts of bravery and strength by women. And in the first season, we'll look at women who played important roles in the Civil War. In episode two, as the war approached their kitchen windows or as their own loved ones went off to fight, women decided to put on a uniform or disguise themselves and join the struggle in ways not seen before. We'll discuss how these women maintained their disguises and why the era's social mores helped their deception on both sides. Listen ad free on Fox News podcast via Apple podcast and Prime members can listen to this show ad free on Amazon music. Listen to this show ad free on Fox News podcast plus on Apple podcast, Amazon music with your prime membership or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 00:23:54 / 2023-05-14 00:32:49 / 9

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