Russia steps up pressure against Cyprus and EP on Browder


By Stelios Orphanides

Days after the US added more names to the Magnitsky sanctions list, Russian officials are stepping up pressure against Cyprus and the EU with public interventions.

On Sunday, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov complained that his country’s cooperation with Cyprus in legal matters was the target of a media campaign.

Lavrov referred in an interview with Simerini to the case of Hermitage Capital founder Bill Browder that “some Cypriot media launched a campaign, which appears to have been caused or devised, in an attempt to defame the cooperation between our countries in the area of legal assistance in criminal and civil cases”.

The Russian chief diplomat dismissed the notion that his country’s request for legal assistance in a probe against investor-turned-activist Browder was politically motivated and that the cooperation had gone beyond the boundaries of “prevailing international legal practices”.

Lavrov said that Browder and the unspecified circles supporting him, aim at politicising the investigation against him and added that Cypriot judicial authorities have provided appropriate explanations.

Browder resorted to a Cypriot court in September seeking an emergency injunction barring the state from cooperating with Russian authorities in their probe against him on the grounds that it is politically motivated. Bowder said it came in response to his campaign for justice for Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died eight years ago in a Russian prison after exposing a $230m (€194m) tax theft. The Russian officials Magnitsky implicated in the case arrested him, subjected him to torture and denied him access to medical treatment.

As a result of Browder’s campaign, several countries, including the US, passed legislation targeting individuals and entities involved in this case as well other cases of human rights abuses, while the Council of Europe asked its members not to cooperate with Russia in its case against Browder. Interpol has so far rejected five arrest warrants issued by Russia against Browder.

In October, the Cypriot government froze the cooperation with Russia temporarily pending the outcome of Browder’s application. This angered Moscow and its ambassador to Nicosia, Stanislav Osadchiy, said the decision – which came days before President Nicos Anastasiades’s visit to Moscow – had hurt bilateral ties.

The second Russian official who made a public intervention in relation to Browder’s case was prosecutor general Yuri Chaika. According to the Russia Today (RT) website, Chaika complained to European Parliament chairman Antonio Tajani about a letter sent by 17 of its members to President Anastasiades two months ago, in which they criticised Cyprus for cooperating with Russia and not doing enough to crack down on money laundering.

The Russian prosecutor general, whose son Artem Chaika was among the 15 individuals on whom the US imposed sanctions on December 12, said that the 17 members of the European parliament (MEP) acted “shamelessly” by attempting to “illegally” influence Cypriot judicial authorities.

With their letter, which the Russian prosecutor general described as “astonishing in its blatant legal nihilism,” the MEPs “are interfering shamelessly in the competence of others, imposing arrogantly and disrespectfully their illegal and unfounded position on a sovereign state,” according to RT.

Chaika also dismissed the claims of the 17 MEPs that Cyprus’s cooperation with Russia in the investigation against Browder was in violation of the island’s obligations under the rule of law as the cooperation was compliant to the European Convention of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959 and other bilateral agreements or international treaties.

Transparency International, a Germany-based anti-corruption watchdog, ranked Russia at 131 on its corruption perception index which included 176 countries last year, together with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Nepal and Iran.
Pressuring judicial authorities of sovereign states in any form “significantly undermines the authority of the European Parliament,” the Russian prosecutor general said, according to RT.

Chaika’s comments came almost a month after it emerged from leaked emailed correspondence that Cypriot attorney Elena Loizidou offered Russia favours and requested favours in exchange.

On Friday, Nicosia District Court judge Ioannis Ioannides gave Browder’s lawyer a January 22 deadline to file a supplementary affidavit to respond to the objection filed by the Attorney-general’s office against the issue of an injunction citing the court’s lack of capacity to decide on the matter.



About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • almostbroke

    ‘When you sup with the devil , use a long spoon !

  • AnalogMind

    Where is the pressure? I only read clarifications in the article. You mean there is pressure on CM?

    • Jay Blanche

      saved me a job there, Ana. thx

  • Anansi Tori

    What is amazing about this whole affair is that Browder is fighting tooth & nail to stop the judiciary to investigate. If he has nothing to hide, as he claims, then why the obstructions? Only a crook would act like that, which means that Browder is likely to be …..

    • Roger Thecabinboy

      Are you one of Putin’s trolls? I ask as evertytime something concerning Russia pops up we get people who otherwise do not comment on local events in what is effectively a local paper commenting and nearly always in favour of Mother Russia., and I canot recall your name on other Cypriot issues.

      Mr Browder’s reasons have been well explained.

      • Anansi Tori

        Are you 1 of Washington’s ideological drones? I ask because, however much your blind belief in authority keeps you repeating the lies, any explanation of Mr Browder’s “reasons” has been merely stated, without providing evidence.

        “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein
        “Men prefer to believe what they prefer to be true.” – Francis Bacon
        “Propaganda is as powerful as heroin; it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.” – Gil Courtemanche. In other words, like a drug addict you become enslaved to propaganda.

        Think about these quotes, you might learn something & take off your blinkers.

        • Roger Thecabinboy

          not at at all – Trump is a disgrace – but YOU have conspicuously failed to deal with my question – and what authority am i blindly believing in – unlike you who seem to have blind belief in the authority of the Russian Justice System. I do btw have an immense respect for the ordinary Russian people and I hear through some the large Russian Community we have in Cyprus, about the hows and whys of corruption trials –

          • Stavros Hadjiyiannis

            Russia-haters have long been hiding their hatred of Russia behind the “I am not against-the-people, I am against their horrible government”

          • Roger Thecabinboy

            I will say the same about any government, of any country. As I said, my views take into account the views of many Russians themselves, where . according to my late father in law, a Russian, the last Russian leader who was any good was Gorbachov,who he actually worked with on some aspects of the political modernisation of Russia, known to us as Glasnost and Perestroika. But for the Coup which brought that drunk, Yeltsin, to power, we could have seen a very diffrent Russia today.

            My son (Russian through and through) cannot stand Putin but observes te alternatives are generally worse.

            One only need look at how wealth there has accumalted in to the hands if a tight circle associated with the current president, frequently after cases like that of Magnitsky, the recent case of a former minister eho got eitht years also seems suspicious to Russians of my acquaintance.

            Also Ask yourself this? Where and how did Putin’s pet Cellist acquire two billion dollars? Buying and selling rare instruments is the story put about.. Are there that many rare instruments in the world, changing hands?

          • Anansi Tori

            And you believe the AngloZionist Empire is a democracy? Read this article to get a fresher idea, instead of just mindlessly regurgitating daddy government’s vile propaganda & relying on 2nd hand info from your son:


            The conclusion of that article: To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy. This means that, in effect the U.S. is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious “electoral” “democratic” countries.

            Happy reading & happy New Year.

          • Roger Thecabinboy

            I have made no comments on what you call the AngloZionist Empire. That is not the topic of the article, and your attempts to discuss democracy in America or lack thereof are a desperate diversionary tactic. Do not try to interpret my unwilingness to debate that further here of a defence of the US system. It is not. It is refusal to be diverted by you into an off topic debate. As to my son, for what his vote is worth he will be able to vote in the forthcoming Russian Elections, and his views are therefore as valid as anyone else’s when discussing Russia. I do not rely upon them. I do however note that the item YOU now cite interestingly makes the observation that Russia is a dubious electoral democratic country.

          • Anansi Tori

            I hate to break it to you, but the diversionary tactics are employed by YOU. My initial comment was the question why does Browder obstruct justice if he has nothing to hide?, to which you answer with the usual Russia-bashing & Putin-bashing, dragging in your father-in-law & son, as if that proves anything.

            I merely accommodated your diversion by showing you that the AngloZionist Empire is not any better than Russia, it is also an oligarchy. Furthermore, contrary to Russia, the AZE keeps attacking & completely destroying other countries.

            Now, I agree, let’s get back to the article, and my original question: why does Browder obstruct justice if he has nothing to hide?
            You have not answered that other than a vague reference to his reasons having been “well explained”. Really? Well, just a small point: he now calls Magnitsky his lawyer when in fact M was his accountant as acknowledged by B before the manure hit the fan. And his lies & inconsistencies go on. So show us the man’s real reasons for obstructing the law.

            Oh, BTW, I fail to see what you not knowing me has to do with my commenting here, and by extension, being a troll. If am right you are not even a moderator,, so I suggest you behave a bit more humbly.

          • Roger Thecabinboy

            I made an observation that you seem to me be a part of the Russian Propaganda machine, and where the point is that many feel that for people like Browder there is no justice in Russia and where Mr Browder is fully entitled to take steps in any relevant court to protect himself, something you seem to object too. in the process you do not seem to accept that some Russians share that view, or are not Russians allowed to hold views that do accept that all in Russia is not as wonderful as eg RT would like us to think.

            And i will not humble myself to a spider, like you. Now go and collect your Kopecs.

          • Anansi Tori

            And US MSM does not spew any government propaganda right? You’d do well to rear RT, a whole new world of fresh views would be revealed to you about Russia & the wider world.

          • Roger Thecabinboy

            I am not by and large a reader wof US MSM….and i filter what i read…RT? One of the most shameless propaganda organs out their, spreading a mix of Syrup spiked with Bile… But by refering to RT you simply tend confirm what you are.

            I do however talk to Russians here in Cyprus.. Can you do that?

          • Anansi Tori

            You clearly have not touched RT, since, being an ideological drone, you simply rely on what daddy government tells you to believe.

            It is because of the blinkered mindset of you & your ilk that the AngloZionist Empire gets away with waging wars at nauseam willy-nilly on countries that cannot defend themselves and killing literally millions of innocent people, incl. its own soldiers whose lives it obviously values at zero.

            Meanwhile you have not answered my original question: why is Browder obstructing justoce if he has nothing to hide?

    • Rick Alembik

      Russian troll.

      • Anansi Tori

        The likes of you can never answer a simple question, in this case: why is Browder obstructing justice if he has nothing to hide?
        The real trolls are ideological drones like you, brainless & uneducated.

        • Roger Thecabinboy

          Because what Mr Browder is obstructing is what he sees as injustice, namely the criminal abuse of the Russian legal system to cover up massive thefts (and murder) by Corrupt Russian officials to steal tax money, for which Mr Magnitsky died in Custody and for which others, such as Mr Firestone, also fled Russia, and where the result is a foregone conclusion. You for your part appear anxious to deny that the Russian regime can do any wrong….you may want to research the comments of Sergei Ignatiev, former head of the Russian Central Bank – about corruption and about how so many who seek to investigate it seem to suddenly die, sometimes violently, cf Magnitsky.

          Troll that you are your reply will likely be dismissive and abusive, as above, but little spider, I think freely, despite what you may claim to the contrary, and that you have to be dismissive and abusive by describing me and others like me as “brainless & uneducated”. I have been insulted with more style by better people than you.

          Are you paid for what you post here, little spider?

          I am not.

  • Wanderer

    “cooperation between our countries in the area of legal assistance?…” Well, if my Russian friends are correct, Russian AG is more akin to a billionaire mafia boss with for-profit executions and all that goes with it. So, I guess he meant “aiding and abetting out crime syndicate” or some such.

  • Evergreen

    A test for Cyprus as an EU country.

    • Unearned

      Absolutely correct. Cyprus is trying to have it both ways but will find that will mean they offend both sides. Cyprus, decide which side you are on.

      • Stavros Hadjiyiannis

        Easiest dilemma ever.

        I’m with Russia.

  • almostbroke

    ‘If you lie with dogs , you end up with fleas ‘