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18 Dec, 2019 01:56

Germany’s Spiegel brushes off Browder’s complaint about ‘misrepresenting’ Magnitsky story

Germany’s Spiegel brushes off Browder’s complaint about ‘misrepresenting’ Magnitsky story

British investor Bill Browder has lashed out at Der Spiegel weekly by accusing it of distorting the story of the death of his auditor Sergey Magnitsky. The outlet maintains it is Browder who has some questions to answer.

Der Spiegel published an investigative bombshell last month, detailing various flaws in the story about Magnitsky’s death that Browder – a US-born investor who became Russian President Vladimir Putin’s self-proclaimed “enemy number one” – used to convince Western governments to impose sanctions against Russian officials over supposedly endemic human rights violations.

Also on rt.com Anti-Russian sanctions based on fraudster’s tales? Spiegel finds Magnitsky narrative fed to West by Browder is riddled with lies

In his narrative, Browder portrayed the late auditor as a courageous whistleblower, who was heinously and deliberately killed by the Russian authorities in a bid to silence him.

Following a rigorous analysis of a trove of documents linked to the auditor’s death in 2009, including some materials published by Browder’s own people, Der Spiegel’s Benjamin Bidder concluded that significant parts of this story were not actually true. Magnitsky has never been a whistleblower, and he was not a victim of murder, although he did suffer “terrible injustice,” the reporter concluded.

He went on to say that Western governments, including those in Washington, Ottawa and London, apparently fell for a “convenient” narrative perpetuated by the man he described as a “fraudster.”

What followed was a swift – and angry – reaction from the investor, who made a name for himself in the West through spreading this story and relentlessly lobbying for sanctions against Russia. Der Spiegel has confirmed that the apparently infuriated investor “has now gone public with his complaints about the Spiegel story in the form of a letter to the news magazine's editor-in-chief.”

Browder did not stop at that and promptly filed a complaint with the German Press Council – a monitoring organization formed by major German publishers and journalistic associations. It is particularly tasked with verifying journalists’ compliance with the press code – a sort of a code of honor for all those working in the media field. Browder basically accused the media of “having misrepresented the facts.”

Yet, Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s major news media outlets, is refusing to be intimidated. In a lengthy piece dealing with the incident, it brushed off the investor’s complaints as having “no basis.” The weekly once again went through each and every detail of its original report, providing further evidence supporting its conclusions, including the transcripts of various documents it relied upon.

Also on rt.com Russian to the wrong conclusions? UK ‘liberal-leftists’ dancing to the Browder/Clinton tune

The paper further noted that it actually gave Browder “a chance to comment extensively on all the points raised” in its initial report and specifically sent him questions ahead of the publication, for that matter. Browder did not respond at the time, only to accuse Der Spiegel of distorting certain facts after the investigative piece was already published.

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