William Browder Ordered to Give Testimony Regarding Claims Made About Prevezon Holdings Ltd

Following several attempts to evade subpoena, Manhattan Federal Judge Thomas Griesa ruled that Mr. William F. Browder must reveal the sources of information he gave to federal prosecutors that led to charges against Prevezon Holdings Ltd.

Manhattan Federal Judge Thomas Griesa ruled on Monday (March 9, 2015) that Mr. William F. Browder must come to New York for a deposition on April 15 to reveal the sources of information he gave to federal prosecutors in the case of United States v. Prevezon Holdings Ltd., et al., No. 13-CV-6326 (S.D.N.Y.).

In court documents, Browder was identified by the U.S. Government as the person responsible for the information which resulted in charges against Prevezon by the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. 

Mr. Mark Cymrot, a partner at BakerHostetler who is representing Mr. Dennis Katsyv and Prevezon, explained to the court that, “We learned from that 30(b)6 deposition,on at least three occasions, the government said they got the documents from Mr. Browder and the government doesn't know where he got them from. So, we have to go to Mr. Browder. This is central to the case, your Honor -- central to the case.”

In a deposition on March 3, 2014, a Government’s representative testified that: (1) the Government relied primarily on the documents provided by Browder, the Magnitsky Act, and websites identified by Browder; and (2) the Government did not review this information critically. Dkt. 137-4 at 17:5-19:19, 53:6-55:4, 107:14-108:8, 174:5-14 (Deposition of Government). The next day the Government told the Court that “William Browder and the principals at Hermitage will be key witnesses in this case.” Dkt. 137-6 at 26:23-27:5.

Despite this, as Mr. Browder’s attorney Randy Mastro explains to the court that, “Mr. Browder has in fact not agreed to be a witness in this case.”
 
As such, Prevezon has been seeking to compel Browder’s sworn testimony. Among other topics, Prevezon wants to ask Browder about potentially serious deficiencies in the story he told the Government about Prevezon, and any motive he may have to target Mr. Denis Katsyv and Prevezon.

The defendants therefore served Browder while he was in New York promoting the launch of his book on February 3, 2015. A video of the subpoena service and Browder’s attempt to flee has been filed with the Court. Dkt. No. 225-1. The footage serves as an example of Browder’s repeated attempts to unlawfully evade subpoena service and deny the defendants their right to face their accuser.

Nataliya Veselnitskaya, lawyer for Mr. Katsyv, explained, “For several months, William Browder tried to convince the U.S. courts that the process to serve him the subpoena were actually Kremlin spies trying to kidnap him. The court did not believe this narrative, especially after viewing the video of Mr. Browder running away from attempts to serve him the subpoenas. Our law team urged the courts that Browder's crusade regarding Magnitsky – which the Judge considers to be a business of Mr. Browder in both Europe and the United States by presenting videos, books, giving interviews and so on - is merely part of his ambitious PR campaign and, as the judge conceded, not merely that of an activist.”

“In one month time, we will see if Browder testifies, as ordered by the court,” Veselnitskaya said, “While I do not believe that Mr. Browder will dare testify to our American colleagues in court to answer the questions we have for him, only time will tell. Only someone with something to hide refuses to answer questions in the court of law, especially regarding evidence he provided which was the direct result of the charges.”

Judge Griesa dispelled Browder's accusations by stating, “Apparently the credible threats did not prevent him from going on The Daily Show onFebruary 3, Fox and Friends on February 3, appearing on Sirius on February 3, going on CNBC Squawk Box on February 3, going on MSNBC on February 5, going on Greg Greenberg's program on February 6th. Apparently the threats didn't prevent him from doing that. Now why could he not have been deposed?”

With his final ruling on the matter, Judge Griesa explained, “I have reviewed the affidavits and declarations on the issue of whether Browder was served properly in New York. I have also seen a video of the events attending what occurred in New York and it is my ruling that Browder was properly served with process in New York City…I do not accept the argument that somehow that service of process was ineffective because of some fear of harm from Russian officials. My ruling is that he was served in New York City and properly served.”

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Categories: Politics, Commercial Law, Law

Tags: bill browder, court, hermitage, katsyv, magnitsky, prevezon, russia, william browder


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