In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management, was tortured and died in a Moscow prison after investigating a $230 million tax fraud committed by corrupt officials. In response to his murder, Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012, sanctioning those responsible for Magnitsky’s death from entering the U.S. or utilizing the U.S. financial system. Three years later, Congress is considering expanding the Magnitsky Act to sanction human rights abusers worldwide (The Global Magnitsky Act).
As the Magnitsky case highlights, agents of grand corruption often count on the Western financial system as a vehicle for legitimizing and protecting their ill-gotten gains. While our financial institutions sometimes welcome the flow of illicit capital, our importance to the global financial system offers us far greater leverage over kleptocratic regimes than is currently acknowledged.
To address the current impetus for expanding the Magnitsky Act, Hudson Institute welcomed Bill Browder, author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice.