bill browder
© Reuters / Henry Nicholls
Den amerikansk fødte britiske investor, Bill Browder.
Says his own narrative lacks proof

Bill Browder's complaint against Der Spiegel for questioning the story he used to push for anti-Russian sanctions has backfired, with Germany's Press Council concluding his own position is far from being an "indisputable fact."
Siger, at hans egen fortælling mangler bevis

Bill Browders klage over Der Spiegel for at stille spørgsmålstegn ved historien, han brugte til at presse på for anti-russiske sanktioner, er tilbagevist, da Tysklands presseråd, konkluderede, at hans egen holdning var langt fra en "'ubestridelig kendsgerning."

"Vi kan ikke være enige med din analyse, hvor du kritiserer beskyldningerne fra forfatteren," sagde det tyske presseråd - en overvågningsorganisation dannet af store tyske udgivere og journalistiske foreninger - i sit svar til Browders team, da det afviste klagen mod et af Tysklands største nyhedsmedier.

Papirerne, der detaljerede rådets beslutning, blev offentliggjort på Twitter af Der Spiegel-reporter Benjamin Bidder, som forfattede den undersøgelsesbombe, der pillede Browders historie om hans revisor Sergey Magnitskys død fra hinanden tilbage i november 2019.

The report provoked the British investor's fury, and he swiftly filed a complaint after the news outlet dared to question the narrative that the vulture capitalist turned human rights campaigner had perpetuated for years as he relentlessly called for sanctions against Russia.

The US-born investor has always claimed that Magnitsky was a courageous whistleblower, who exposed corruption in Russia and was mercilessly killed by authorities out of revenge. The German weekly, however, concluded that this narrative was riddled with lies and said Western nations have fallen for a "convenient" story made up by a "fraudster."

Browder lashed out at Der Spiegel, accusing it of "misrepresenting the facts" and even letting itself to be instrumentalized by Moscow. He told another German newspaper, Die Welt, that Der Spiegel outright "ignored" his evidence and asked him questions "put together by people close to the Russian government."

The paper did not let itself be bullied, and published another lengthy piece containing further evidence supporting its conclusions. Now, the Press Council has said that Der Spiegel was fairly accurate in its assessments.

"The factual basis [of the report] at the time of the publication was sufficiently clear," it said. The media watchdog further noted that it is the position of Browder's team that "cannot be, to say the least, seen as a proven and undeniable fact."

It also noted that Magnitsky cannot be seen as a "lawyer," since he had no legal education. That was exactly what Der Spiegel said, and what Browder vehemently contested.

Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention in Moscow back in 2009, when he was investigated in relation to Browder's own case. The investor was eventually found guilty of massive tax evasion and embezzlement in Russia and was twice sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison.

The 56-year-old, meanwhile, proclaimed himself Russian President Vladimir Putin's "enemy number one" and used the death of his associate to lobby for the passing of the infamous Magnitsky Act in the US back in 2012. That legislation allowed the American authorities to impose sanctions against Russian officials over alleged human rights violations. Later, Browder also pushed for similar acts in Canada and the UK.