How Putin and the Russian Oligarchs are Corrupting the World
- November 08, 2019
Join us for a conversation with hedge fund CEO, activist, and author Bill Browder and Chicago Booth professor Luigi Zingales on crony capitalism in Russia, its domestic and international implications, and what could be done to prevent Putin and the Russian oligarchs from corrupting the world.
Bill Browder’s journey started on the South Side of Chicago and moved through Stanford Business School to the dog-eat-dog world of hedge fund investing in the 1990s. It continued in Moscow, where Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union’s collapse. But when he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were robbing the companies in which he was investing, Vladimir Putin turned on him and, in 2005, had him expelled from Russia.
Bill Browder (AB’85) is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, which was the investment adviser to the largest foreign investment fund in Russia until 2005, when Bill was denied entry to the country and declared a “threat to national security” as a result of his battle against corporate corruption. Following his expulsion, the Russian authorities raided his offices, seized Hermitage Fund’s investment companies and used them to steal $230 million of taxes that the companies had previously paid. When Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, investigated the crime, he was arrested by the same officers he implicated, tortured for 358 days, and killed in custody at the age of 37 in November 2009. Since then, Browder has been fighting for justice for Mr. Magnitsky. The Russian government exonerated and even promoted some of the officials involved. Browder took the case to the US, where his campaigning led to the US Congress adopting the ‘Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act’ in 2012, which imposed visa sanctions and asset freezes on those involved in the detention, ill-treatment and death of Sergei Magnitsky (as well as in other human rights abuses). Browder is also the author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice.
Luigi Zingales (moderator) is the Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the Charles M. Harper Faculty Fellow and Director of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His research interests span from corporate governance to financial development, from political economy to the economic effects of culture. He has published extensively in the major economics and financial journals. He also wrote two best-selling books and recently launched the Capitalisn't podcast with Katherine Waldock from Georgetown University.
11:45 a.m. Registration
12:00 p.m. Discussion and Q&A
1:00 p.m. Adjournment
The event will take place in Harper Center Room C09 (5807 S Woodlawn Ave).