The Must-Hear Story Of Putin's No 1 Enemy

12 February 2015, 13:49 | Updated: 13 July 2017, 10:14

The man dubbed Vladimir Putin's number one enemy has told LBC that the Russian leader is a criminal who is more of a danger to the UK than IS.

The man dubbed Vladimir Putin's number one enemy has told LBC that the Russian leader is a criminal who is more of a danger to the UK than IS.

Bill Browder is a former businessman who tried to blow the whistle on corruption in business with the Russian state - and that put him on a collision course with Putin.

He told the remarkable story of how he went to an ally of Vladimir Putin to one of his biggest enemies.

Speaking to LBC as a ceasefire with Ukraine was announced, he told James O'Brien: "They [Merkel and Hollande] are just trying to do their best in a situation where they are used to dealing with normal heads of state.

"What they are dealing with in Putin is not a normal head of state.

"They are dealing with a man who is effectively a criminal. He is a mafia boss with all the powers of a state on his side."

He insisted that the situation in Ukraine represents more of a danger to the UK than IS in Syria, adding: "The Russian-Ukrainian crisis should be ranked higher than any other issue for one simple reason.

"Because you have a guy - I wouldn't call him a madman because he's very rational - but he's rational based on a different set of principles than we are.

"We have a guy, Vladimir Putin, who is doing this war to distract his people from his own failings and his corruption. 

"Unlike other situations, this guy has his finger on the nuclear button.

"Now I'm not predicting a nuclear war. But if it came to it, if he came to his own survival and pressing that button, he would press that button.

"If he thought it would keep him in power and warn off the attacks or the possible extradition or whatever will happen to him, he'll press that button.

"He will take the world down with him. He's already taken Russia down with him in terms of launching this battle against Ukraine for no reason. There is absolutely no reason why Russia should have invaded Ukraine."

His whole story is a remarkable listen - and you can watch it below in full - but the moment he realised he was on his own against Russia was chilling.

Having been landed with a £230million tax bill based on forged documents, he decided to report it. Mr Browder takes up the story: "We were sure that Putin might be totally comfortable ripping me off, but to allow the State to be ripped off? It didn't make any sense.

"We thought if we just get the information out into the open, we file a bunch of criminal complaints, get into the newspapers, then the good guys would get the bad guys and that would be the end of the story.

"It turned out, there were no good guys. Just bad guys.

"Instead of opening up a criminal case against the people who did this, the authorities opened criminal cases against all of our lawyers, including Sergei Magnitsky."

Back in the US, he managed to get a law passed in the US covering a list of Russian officials who are, in essence, too dirty to deal with. But he is struggling to get a similar deal passed in the UK. And the reason for that is shocking.

"The British government is more interested in Russian money. It's ok to have Russian torturers and murderers coming into the UK because they don't want to do anything that might upset the flow of money.

"This I find to be truly upsetting."

Bill Browder On Fighting Corruption In Russia: His Full Remarkable Story

More James O'Brien

See more More James O'Brien

Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms

Sir Keir Starmer has defended comments he made about Margaret Thatcher earlier this month.

Starmer defends Thatcher comments as he says he ‘completely disagrees’ with former prime minister’s politics

A caller to James O’Brien’s programme has shared footage of the extraordinary destruction done to his newly purchased property just outside of Durham.

Property investor's shock at 'unexplainable level of damage' he discovered after buying new home

James Cleverly replaced Suella Braverman as home secretary on Monday

'I've spent more time with James Cleverly this week than with Suella Braverman in the last year', Sadiq Khan tells LBC

James O'Brien discusses Suella Braverman's 'destructionist' leadership style with a caller

'She's a destructionist': James O'Brien caller claims Suella Braverman governs like 'a five-year-old'

James O'Brien

'She definitely has something on him': Caller and James O'Brien debate why the PM hasn't sacked Suella Braverman yet

'A complete reset of the top' is needed says caller.

'We're being let down': There is a 'complete disconnection' between parliamentary and local Conservatives says caller

James O'Brien

'It's essential that people are able to protest peacefully against war', says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak 'almost physically moves away' from Suella Braverman in House of Commons debate, says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

'Suella Braverman succeeded - she's caused hate', claims caller after Home Secretary criticises pro-Palestine marches

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

James O'Brien on Dagestan

'It's a hatred as old as religion itself': James O'Brien analyses escalating anti-Semitism after Muslim crowd storms Dagestan airport

Carol Vorderman shocked about UK Poverty

'One million children are living in destitution': Carol Vorderman struggles to comprehend stark wealth inequality in the UK

Wes Streeting on dentistry

Wes Streeting invites the government to steal Labour's policy to solve 'dickensian' NHS dentist crisis

James O'Brien

'I think they're the loneliest voters in Britain', James O'Brien claims after Tories' double by-election defeat

JOB and caller Andy

Biden's visit to Israel is to show that the US stands 'unequivocally' with Israel says James O'Brien caller

JOB and Usman

Israel's current response will only 'strengthen' Hamas by rearing Gazans who seek revenge warns this James O'Brien caller

JOB on deaths in conflict

James O'Brien unpacks the 'controversial' feeling of being 'equally devastated' by Palestinian and Israeli deaths

JOB on starmer speech

Keir Starmer is using 'working class as the opposite of having a sense of entitlement', notes James O'Brien

JOB on HS2 promises

James O'Brien criticises Rishi Sunak's watering down of 'illustrative' Network North projects funded by HS2 cut

Sadiq Khan and James O'Brien

Sadiq Khan declares there is 'no place for anti-Semitism' in London as kosher restaurant in Golders Green attacked

James O'Brien on the challenge HS2 scrappage poses to Labour.

‘How much can Rishi Sunak knock down before Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister?, asks James O’Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak is like an 'incontinent cat': James O'Brien slams Tories ahead of PM's Party Conference speech

JoB and Jeremy Hunt

Navy veteran deeply hurt by Jeremy Hunt's plans to clamp down on benefit claimants

James O'Brien on Tory tactics in the upcoming election.

Tories desperately seeking wedge issues is the 'only way' they will retain power in 2024, says James O'Brien

James and caller Mervin on knife crime

'I'd prefer you to go to jail than die': James O'Brien is left aghast by this caller's father's stance on knife possession

James O'Brien

James O'Brien ridicules those prioritising Labour's private school VAT plans over the cost of living crisis

James O'Brien

'I mean this is a novel': James O'Brien hears why this caller blames Labour for HS2 problems

James O'Brien

James O'Brien takes aim at uninformed 'idiots' criticising Keir Starmer for not wanting to diverge from EU rules

JOB on Rishi Sunak Bins

Rishi 'seven-bin' Sunak is lifting bans that 'don't exist', asserts James O'Brien


Rishi Sunak's weakening of Net Zero policies is his 'stupidest intervention' to date, asserts James O'Brien