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Browder Beaten: Russia Off Limits

For the past four months, William Browder has not been able to get back to Moscow, where he runs the $4 billion Hermitage Capital Management.

For the past four months, William Browder has not been able to get back to Moscow, where he runs the $4 billion Hermitage Capital Management. Browder, according to The New York Times, is Russia's biggest foreign investor in its stock market, and his fund has surged 43% in his absence (he's been hanging out in London in the meantime). But why the wait for the visa to get him home? The Moscow Times reports, citing a letter from the Foreign Ministry, that Browder has been barred because he's viewed as a threat to national security, according to Russian law. The threat, it seems, is Browder's penchant for speaking out against corporate governance abuses, such as the state-owned Gazprom and Surgutneftegaz.

"This looks like some kind of retaliation against an active shareholder," Matthias Westman of Moscow-based Property Capital Management told the Times. "It is an entirely stupid thing to do. We are trying to improve what needs to be improved....That's in the interest of both the state and shareholders." Browder told the paper that "a number of senior government officials in Russia are working very hard to help us get the problem resolved."

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