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Putin critic says Russia put him on Interpol watchlist because Canada passed Magnitsky Act

Putin critic says Russia put him on Interpol watchlist because Canada passed Magnitsky Act
From CBC - October 23, 2017

Bill Browderwas hoping to travel to Canada next week to celebrate the passing of a law aimed at punishing corrupt foreign officials,but now he's not so sure that's a good idea.

"That may not be possible, if there'sa risk of me being arrested when I come into Canada," theBritish hedge fund manager turned human rights activist told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

Browder recently learned that hisU.S. visa has been revoked by the Department of Homeland Security.

When he reached out to his law enforcement contacts to find out why, hediscovered that Russia had placed his name on an Interpol "diffusion"list, putting him at risk of being arrested if he crosses an internationalborder.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has since manuallyapproved Browder'sElectronic System for Travel Authorization,clearing him to travel to the U.S. without a visa, spokeperson Jennifer Gabristold As It Happens.

Moscow has not yet commented on the Interpol list, but Browder has long been a thorn in side of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2009, Browder's lawyer and accountant SergeiMagnitsky was murdered in a Russian prison, after helping expose a corruption and money laundering scheme.

Three years later,Browdersuccessfully lobbied the U.S. to pass theMagnitskyAct, which freezesassets and bans visas for Russian officials believed to beresponsible the lawyer's death.

The law has long been a sour point for Russia, which restricted the U.S. adoption of Russian babiesin retaliation. It was also the subject of a controversial meeting between Donald Trump Jr.and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the 2016 election campaign, according to Trump Jr.

Last week, Canada passed its own version of the MagnitskyAct calledthe Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, orBill S-226.

Browder testified in the House of Commons in favour of the law, which broadly allows the Canadian government to impose sanctions and travel banson foreign officials responsible for gross human rights violations.

'I am giving everyone the benefit of the doubt at the moment, other than Vladimir Putin.' - BillBrowder

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