At one point, Bill Browder ran the most successful investment fund in Russia. Backed by prominent financiers, Browder’s $4.5 billion fund Hermitage Capital Management achieved gobsmacking returns for its investors. Red Notice is the astonishing true story of Browder’s journey from high-flying banker to impassioned human rights activist. A journey that landed him on the very top of Vladimir Putin’s list of enemies. A frightening yet absolutely riveting read.
Browder, an American by birth, grew up in a Chicago household of ambitious mathematicians. His grand-father, Earl Browder, was the most prominent Communist in America during the 1930s and even ran for President on a Communist ticket. Browder’s rebellion was to become a hard-core capitalist, but under the thick-skinned opportunism lay a deeply ingrained sense of fairness that would later propel him into heroic but dangerous territory.
After stints at consulting company Boston Consulting Group and investment bank Salomon Brothers, Browder moves to Russia to start his own fund. Opportunities are rife, especially in the bargain basement sell-off of state-owned companies. If you’ve ever wondered how Russian oligarchs became oligarchs, this book will show you how.
This is the Wild West of finance and Browder’s fund sees unimaginable swings in performance, some investments increasing by 100 times in value while others becoming virtually worthless overnight. Irregularities of various kinds start to surface and Browder raises his voice publicly. This will not go unpunished and before he knows it, three of Browder’s companies are stolen. Yes, stolen! How this is even possible beggars belief. Browder, not easily intimidated, starts an investigation and with the help of his local lawyers unearth some truly shocking practises that point all the way up to Putin.
Browder’s book was published in 2015 but is more relevant today than ever. The Magnitisky Act, named after Browder’s lawyer who died in jail after he was tortured and denied medical care, was reportedly the subject of conversation during the now famous meeting between Trump and Russian lawyers.
Red Notice offers a terrifying glimpse into today’s Russia. If you’re in the mood for a thriller, this real-life page turner with its unbelievable Kafkaesque twists and turns will have you glued.
Red Notice is published by Corgi Books, 467 pages.