The Man Who Putin Wants To Kill More Than Sergei Skripal

15 March 2018, 14:24 | Updated: 15 March 2018, 14:52

Bill Browder is very close to the top of Vladimir Putin's hit-list. He told James O'Brien how he feels after Sergei Skripal's attack in Salisbury.

Mr Browder was a prominent businessman in Russia, but he tried to blow the whistle on corruption inside the Russian state - and that put him on a collision course with Putin.

Back in the US, he managed to get the Magnitsky Act passed in the US, freezing the assets of some of the most corrupt Russian officials. But so far the UK has been unwilling to follow.

That law helps to stop Putin getting his hands on huge amounts of money - and Mr Browder says that is why Putin wants him dead so much.

Speaking to James O'Brien, he said: "I've been at a high risk for a long time. I've come up with the one thing that Putin hates more than everything, which is a threat to his money.

"He wants me destroyed and out of commission, one way or the other. Nothing has changed in terms of the Russians' motivation to kill me.

"What worries me more than anything is the British response. Because if there is no British response, then Putin will be given a message that he can get away with murder multiple times in the UK.

"And then surely he's going to come and kill me in the UK.

"So I have a higher motivation than almost anyone in the country to make sure the government do the right thing here and creates a proper devastating consequence for this last action."

James O'Brien with Bill Browder
James O'Brien with Bill Browder. Picture: LBC / Getty

James asked if getting the Magnitsky Act passed in Britain would make Russia even more determined to kill him.

Bill's cheery response: "No, he's already the most determined to hurt me. I have no worries about that.

"Putin is a thug, a mafia thug. He understands constraints and hard boundaries and he pushes them and tries to find weakness. He has found weakness in the UK so far."

Watch Bill Browder's full, remarkable story