Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2015 Contents SBG16 REVIEW
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt FEBRUARY 8 • 2015
A True Story of High Finance, Murder,
and One Man s Fight for Justice
By Bill Browder
Simon & Schuster. US$28.
In the early 1990s Bill Browder
invested $2,000 in a handful of
Polish companies being privatised
after the collapse of Communism.
Eastern Europe was dipping a toe
into the cold bath of free-market
capitalism, and Mr Browder, fresh
out of Stanford University s busi-
ness school, wanted to jump in, too.
His small investment quadrupled in value
within the year and went on to repay him
tenfold. "For those who don t know, the
sensation of finding a ten-bagger is the
financial equivalent of smoking crack
cocaine," he writes in "Red Notice: A True
Story of High Finance, Murder, and One
Man s Fight for Justice." "Once you ve done
it, you want to repeat it over and over and
over as many times as you can."
Mr Browder continued to smoke the crack
pipe with gusto, shifting his action to Russia
and creating a wildly successful investment
fund, Hermitage Capital Management. His
freewheeling, snappy book describes the
meteoric rise, and disastrous fall, of a buc-
caneer capitalist who crossed the wrong
people and paid a steep price.
The highs were very high. Mr Browder
excelled at sniffing out undervalued com-
panies, rolling the dice and reaping fantastic
returns. After determining that a little-known
oil company called Sidanco was actually
worth as much as Lukoil, for example, he
bought about US$11 million worth of its
stock at US$4 a share. The gamble was vin-
dicated a year later when British Petroleum
bought a block of the company s stock at a
600 per cent premium over that price.
Within two years after Hermitage s found-
ing in 1996, its assets had swelled from
The Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Accommoda-
tion Upgrade Project is designed to provide an incen-
tive in the form of a partial reimbursement of the cost of
upgrade works undertaken to eligible tourist accommo-
dation. This is to bring them to a rst class level to meet
and/or exceed the Trinidad and Tobago Standard
Requirements for Tourist Accommodation.
Incentive Bene ts:
• Eligible properties will receive a reimbursement
grant as a proportion of the cost of refurbishment
for improvements/upgrade works to the interior/ex-
terior of the property.
• Eligible Properties with 1-5 guestrooms (Small
Tourism Accommodation Properties) will receive a
20% reimbursement up to $75,000.
• Eligible properties with 6-150 guestrooms (Hotels &
Guesthouses) will receive a 25% reimbursement up
Eligibility Criteria include but are not limited to:
Properties with 1 to 150 guest bedrooms; Properties
must be in operation for more than four years; Proof of
ownership; Approval from the Town & Country Planning
Division; Board of Inland Revenue and Value Added Tax
Clearance Certi cates; Not currently in receipt of other
grants from the Government.
Eligible Upgrade Areas may include but are not
limited to: Guest bedroom and bathroom; Lobby;
Restaurant and Kitchen; and Exterior.
Investment Facilitation Department
Tourism Development Company Limited
Level 1, Maritime Centre, #29 Tenth Avenue, Barataria, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: 675-7034/5/6/7 • Website: www.tdc.co.tt
For more information on accessing the incentives, please contact:
Trinidad and Tobago
T rism Acc modati Up ade Pr ect
FOR RENT DOWNTOWN PORT-OF-SPAIN
IDEAL FOR LAW OFFICE
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US$25 million to more than US$1 billion, making Mr.
Browder the largest foreign investor in the Russian
stock market. In 2000, Hermitage was named the
best-performing emerging-markets fund in the world,
having generated returns of 1,500 per cent to its
original investors. Its assets would grow to US$4.5
billion by 2005.
The lows, however, were very low. A hefty portion
of the book describes Mr Browder s frantic efforts to
fight off a wolf pack of oligarchs trying to muscle in
on Hermitage s action and strip its assets.
The cut and thrust, and the high stakes, make for
a zesty tale. Mr Browder and his Russian team became
adept at amassing scandalous information about their
foes and then presenting the findings, tied up in a
neat package, to Western journalists who could inflict
Mr Browder admits to a fatal miscalculation. He
assumed that his foreign citizenship made him
untouchable. In fact, he was living on borrowed time.
When Vladimir V Putin was intent on reining in the
oligarchs, his interests and Mr. Browder s coincided.
But at a certain point, they did not.
In 2005, deemed a "threat to national security," Mr
Browder was kicked out of Russia, and his companies
were seized. Later the Russian government asked
Interpol to issue an all-points bulletin, or red notice,
for his arrest on tax evasion charges. Interpol rejected
the request, calling it politically motivated. Mr. Browder
was then convicted by a Russian court in absentia.
"When the Russian government turns on you, it
doesn t do so mildly; it does so with extreme prejudice,"
Mr. Browder notes ruefully.
Worse, the Interior Ministry arrested Sergei L Mag-
nitsky, Hermitage s tax lawyer. After being held in
custody for more than a year, Magnitsky was found
dead on a prison floor in Moscow after being beaten
Mr Browder began a relentless campaign to expose
and punish Mr Magnitsky s persecutors, turning his
case into an international cause célèbre. His efforts
helped pressure Congress to pass a law in late 2012,
commonly known as the Magnitsky Act, that barred
18 Russian officials connected with Magnitsky s death
from entering the United States or using its banking
system, and set a precedent for future visa sanctions
and asset freezes. Last spring the European Parliament
passed its own version of the act.
It s a Hollywood ending, right down to the standing
ovation given by more than 700 European members
of Parliament after passing the legislation.
Mr Browder makes an unlikely hero and even more
unlikely capitalist. His grandfather was the head of
the American Communist Party and featured on the
cover of Time magazine in 1938 as "Comrade Earl
Browder." Felix Browder, Earl s son, became a math-
ematics professor at the University of Chicago. Bill
Browder s brother, Thomas, is an eminent particle
physicist. "In my family, if you weren t a prodigy, you
had no place on earth," he writes.
Mr Browder, by contrast, was a slacker. He goofed
off at boarding school and barely made it into the
University of Colorado, Boulder, where he spent his
freshman year reliving "Animal House."
In the ultimate act of rebellion, he set his sights
on a business career, a decision that straightened him
out academically and no doubt would come as a shock
to his grandfather. (New York Times)
From Russia with love (sort of)
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