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Bill Browder, who once ran Russia’s largest foreign investment fund, says companies staying in Russia is like doing ‘business in Nazi Germany’

Investor and political activist Bill Browder (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (right)TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images (left), Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images (right)

  • Bill Browder once ran Russia’s largest foreign investment fund – now he’s Putin’s “enemy”.

  • In an interview with The New York Times, he said staying in Russia is like doing “business in Nazi Germany.”

  • He said all companies have a “moral obligation” to leave Russia, “regardless of the cost”.

Bill Browder – an international investor who once ran Russia’s biggest foreign investment fund and is described as ‘Putin’s enemy’ – said companies staying in Russia were ‘the equivalent of continuing to do business in Nazi Germany.

“Every company has a moral obligation to get out of Russia, no matter the cost,” Browder told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday by DealBook. “I don’t think anyone should even worry about coming back because everyone will be welcome in a post-Putin regime.”

He added that if Putin remains in power, companies should not “want to go back”.

Hundreds of companies voluntarily cut ties with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. However, many brands have continued operations in Russia, according to a Yale University database that tracked and categorized 800 business responses.

Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management in 1996, which quickly became one of the most successful funds in the world. As CEO, Browder leveraged stakeholder activism to expose corruption among Russian oligarchs and their businesses. The confrontational style of investing has created massive profits, as well as a long list of enemies.

Among his main enemies is Putin himself. Browder – who was declared a national security threat to Russia in 2005 and banned from entering the country – was specifically mentioned by Putin during the 2016 Mueller investigation. During the negotiations, Putin proposed that the United States could travel to Russia to interview suspects if Russian law enforcement could interview Browder, as The New York Times reported in 2018.

Today, the former investor is a human rights activist specializing in Kremlin politics.

You can read DealBook’s full interview with Browder on The New York Times.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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