Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin's corruption.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...

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Title:Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice
Author:Bill Browder
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Edition Language:English

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice Reviews

  • L.A. Starks

    This stunningly good book is authored by a world-class trader who, when he loses a friend to imprisonment, torture, and death from Putin's regime, goes all-out--slowly, deliberately--to avenge his friend. The trader is Bill Browder, the friend is Sergei Magnitsky, and the story is a true one. This makes the book more compelling than even the best fictional thriller. Putin's lack of conscience is no act, yet Browder describes a president and a now-secretary of state who naively want to pursue a r

    This stunningly good book is authored by a world-class trader who, when he loses a friend to imprisonment, torture, and death from Putin's regime, goes all-out--slowly, deliberately--to avenge his friend. The trader is Bill Browder, the friend is Sergei Magnitsky, and the story is a true one. This makes the book more compelling than even the best fictional thriller. Putin's lack of conscience is no act, yet Browder describes a president and a now-secretary of state who naively want to pursue a reset with this coldest of killers.

    The only thing, and it is the most minor of points, is that Browder calculates Gazprom's natural gas value on a basis equivalent to oil, which it is not.

    Red Notice is a story of brave men and women acting honorably in a shifting, lawless country. It provides phenomenal insight into current-day Russia.

  • Frances

    Born into a left-wing family in America, Bill Browder attended a boarding school where he became quite rebellious and very unsettled. Not happy with his home life he made the decision to become a capitalist knowing that it would surely upset his parents. However, once he settled down with his studies he was soon accepted into Standford University and on his way to becoming everything he ever wanted to be. By becoming the largest foreign investor in Russia running his own investment firm, he went

    Born into a left-wing family in America, Bill Browder attended a boarding school where he became quite rebellious and very unsettled. Not happy with his home life he made the decision to become a capitalist knowing that it would surely upset his parents. However, once he settled down with his studies he was soon accepted into Standford University and on his way to becoming everything he ever wanted to be. By becoming the largest foreign investor in Russia running his own investment firm, he went well beyond his aspirations. Flying back and forth between London and Moscow for several years all seemed to be going to plan. However, something changed quite dramatically that would forever transform his life. Completely blindsided by top Russian officials he had no idea the tremendous fight he would face to secure his company, keep the wealth it had created, and protect his associates. Author, Bill Browder pulls no punches in this true story of his rise as a prominent investor in a country that essentially does what it wants with no repercussions whatsoever. Red Notice is powerful, and undeniably a riveting story. Mr. Browder possesses a high sense of integrity with a great deal of compassion, and is very brave to try and make his story heard around the world. Highly recommended!

  • Hadrian

    The main lesson of this volume is the documentation of how far Russia has slid into kleptocracy, where the rule of law had become only a tool used to extort, to destroy, and to consolidate the gains of a select few.

    To recap - Russia around 1995-1996 was at a low ebb. President Yeltsin's popularity was at about 4%, and cabinet ministers and close family members were about to be charged with corruption. The economy was in dismal shape, and Russia would default on its debt by 1998. The Communist P

    The main lesson of this volume is the documentation of how far Russia has slid into kleptocracy, where the rule of law had become only a tool used to extort, to destroy, and to consolidate the gains of a select few.

    To recap - Russia around 1995-1996 was at a low ebb. President Yeltsin's popularity was at about 4%, and cabinet ministers and close family members were about to be charged with corruption. The economy was in dismal shape, and Russia would default on its debt by 1998. The Communist Party was expected to win the upcoming elections, and yet Gennedy Zhuganov had made assurances to foreign investors that he would not re-nationalize privatized property. Few believed him.

    Enter Bill Browder, grandson of the founder of the Communist Party-USA. He saw opportunity in the Russian market, from the tumult of privatization. Not the 'loans-for-shares' model, which was a disaster, but the relatively transparent process of 'voucher' privatization. Vouchers were issued to Russian citizens, and they were supposed to be exchanged for shares in privatized Russian companies. But these were given away or traded for goods much smaller in value. Browder was able to snatch these up at about $20/voucher. Now take some back of the envelope math - 150,000,000 vouchers produced, $20/voucher, and these were supposed to account for almost a third of the Russian economy. $3 billion. This meant that the early privatizers valued the entire Russian economy to be only $10 billion!

    He had made a bundle off of privatization in Poland, which was already on the up-and-up, but Russia was a more difficult point of entry. After obtaining $25 million in seed money from Republic New York and made his gamble. Then Yeltsin won in 1996, and the markets breathed a sigh of relief.

    While financially successful, Browder faced multiple challenges, including dealings with corrupt oligarchs, and then losing much of his fund's value in the 1998 default. Yet at the time, he still felt Russia was on an upward trajectory. Then came the election of Vladimir Putin in 1999, the muzzling of political opponents, and suspicious bombing attempts in Ryazan.

    Browder at first, was not concerned with this - he had made a massive fortune off of Gazprom. But then everyone was frightened by the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the most powerful oligarchs. Browder is more right to speculate this was a major moment in the shifting of the balance of power between oligarchs and Putin - far from being a Communist ideologue, Putin demanded instead a large cut of their business as protection money.

    Browder, to his credit, saw the writing on the wall, and began moving his personnel out of the country. After refusing to pay a bribe to a KGB colonel, his offices were raided and their original titles and other documents were confiscated - and then took advantage of a law where the possessor of such documents has control over the company. He filed complaints and presented his evidence, only to found the official from the State Investigating Committee assigned to his case was the man he refused to bribe.

    By 2008, Browder had evacuated all but one of his staff - a lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. He was arrested in November 2008, and found beaten to death in his cell in 2009.

    The rest of the book is dedicated to the 'Magnitsky effect', of bills passing targeted sanctions against high officials responsible for Magnitsky's death. The book ends with the passage of the Magnitsky Act in the United States in 2012, though similar laws have now been passed (as of this writing) in Estonia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Lithuania. The virulent reaction to this law from the Russian government only confirms the nature of their regime.

    If nothing else, the story of Magnitsky shows the dangers of doing business with an openly thieving regime - and should raise suspicions in those countries who depend on a single Russian energy supply, or take in an excess of dirty money. The most egregious example may yet be Donald himself.

  • Esil

    3 1/2 stars. I listened to the audio of Red Notice. It was fascinating and I have no regrets about listening to it, but there were a few things that grated on me enough to knock off a 1/2 star from what would otherwise have been a solid 4 stars. In Red Notice, Bill Browder recounts his involvement in the world of high finance in Russia, events which ultimately led to the arrest, torture and death of one of his lawyers, and which transformed Browder from manager of a multi billion dollar investme

    3 1/2 stars. I listened to the audio of Red Notice. It was fascinating and I have no regrets about listening to it, but there were a few things that grated on me enough to knock off a 1/2 star from what would otherwise have been a solid 4 stars. In Red Notice, Bill Browder recounts his involvement in the world of high finance in Russia, events which ultimately led to the arrest, torture and death of one of his lawyers, and which transformed Browder from manager of a multi billion dollar investment fund to a human rights activist. Browder recounts this life journey in a lot of detail, describing his own background and the worlds in which he found himself. As a young graduate of the Stanford business school in the late 1980s, he decided that he would enter into the newly available Russian investment market. His strategy was to buy shares of under valued newly privatized companies, and to make them available to foreign investors. He made a tremendous amount of money for himself and for others, and he also made many enemies in Russia because he made so much money and also had a tendency to sniff out and call attention to serious cases of corruption. Ultimately, this success and bullishness led to his expulsion from Russia and to the torture and death of his lawyer who refused to provide false evidence against Browder and his fund. The Russia Browder depicts is corrupt and brutal, and part of his point is that things are not very different from the days of communism. I found all of this fascinating and chilling. I also have a friend who does business in Russia, who tells me that the world Browder describes is dead on. What irked me about the book was Browder's unabashed self-aggrandizement and lack of self reflection. There is no recognition that there was nothing noble about going to Russia in the early 1990s to capitalize on its newly open market, and that Browder's own troubles essentially come from his attempt to earn piles of money on the back of the Russians' lack of experience in a free market. The corrupt oligarchs and politicos in Russia have no higher moral ground to claim, but all involved -- including Browder -- were motivated by some pretty over the top greed. Again, it's an interesting book and it reveals a very chilling side of contemporary Russia, but I struggled to feel sympathy for Browder -- although I certainly felt a tremendous amount of sympathy for his lawyer and all who were physically threatened or exiled as a result of the events depicted in the book.

    A note on the audio: The narrator's voice is engaged and easy to listen to, but it does come across as arrogant which may explain some of my reservation about the book. The very last chapter is narrated by Browder himself, and I found his own voice much more sympathetic.

  • H Wesselius

    An interesting and entertaining read. Only marred by the self righteous tone of an author. Browder can't see beyond his own perspective. After cleaning out Russia by purchasing underpriced stock and turning it around for a quick profit. Once he achieved his millions he suddenly found a conscience. My sympathy lies with the Russian activists and people who've been wronged by both the oligarchs and the western businessman.

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