How Bill Browder Became Russia’s Most Wanted Man

Business was going well for Browder until one day in November, 2005, when Russia’s border guards denied him entry at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. He was told that his Russian visa had been annulled on national-security grounds. In 2006, Celeste Wallander, a program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (she later worked as an adviser to President Obama on the National Security Council), ran into Browder at a conference. She recalled that he was convinced his visa problems could be resolved if he could only explain his predicament to Putin himself. Browder expressed the incongruity of his plight to The Economist: “Logic dictates that it’s not in the national interest to ban the biggest investor in Russia and one of the biggest supporters of the government’s policy.”

In July, 2006, Putin was asked at a press conference about Browder. Putin said that he didn’t know the particulars of

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