Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice by Bill BrowderRed Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice by Bill Browder

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice

byBill Browder

Paperback | October 20, 2015

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A New York Times bestseller: “[Red Notice] does for investing in Russia and the former Soviet Union what Liar’s Poker did for our understanding of Salomon Brothers, Wall Street, and the mortgage-backed securities business in the 1980s. Browder’s business saga meshes well with the story of corruption and murder in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, making Red Notice an early candidate for any list of the year’s best books” (Fortune).

This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.

Along the way he exposed corruption, and when he did, he barely escaped with his life. His Russian lawyer wasn’t so lucky: he ended up in jail, where he was tortured to death. That changed Browder forever. He saw the murderous heart of the Putin regime and has spent the last half decade on a campaign to expose it. Because of that, he became Putin’s number one enemy, especially after Browder succeeded in having a law passed in the United States that punishes a list of Russians implicated in the lawyer’s murder. Putin famously retaliated with a law that bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world, and also the story of how, without intending to, he found meaning in his life.
William Felix "Bill" Browder (born 23 April 1964) received a BA in economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Stanford Business School. He was vice president at Salomon Brothers before becoming the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, which was the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005. Since his lawye...
Title:Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for JusticeFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:416 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 1 inShipping dimensions:8.38 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:October 20, 2015Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476755744

ISBN - 13:9781476755748

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Rated 1 out of 5 by from Oligarch-lite self pity I appreciate Browder's work with getting the Magnitsky Act passed, it is an important step in punishing criminals by restricting their free movement globally and I wish it expanded further. BUT, I don't care about his childhood, or first marriage, and I have a hard time worrying about a hedge fund bro that is sad and has to work *really hard* for a great deal of the book because he isn't as good at corruption as the oligarchs were/are. Someone who was party to the financial ruin of the Russian people thanks to the "opportunity" that post-communist privatization afforded, is not someone I can muster up any sense of pity or sympathy for - regardless of the fear he felt at the time. Aside from that, the writing is pedestrian, and I don't need to know physical descriptions of every woman he encountered. This could've been an interesting read if written by a capable third party, perhaps looking at the privatization era as a whole, but as it is and from the limited, self-indulgent view of Browder - well, to be frank, I hate it.
Date published: 2018-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read A thought provoking book regarding the topics of freedom of speech, human rights and politics. Br
Date published: 2018-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As topical today as when it was first published In the three years since this book was published, its only gotten more relevant. My bookclub read it, and it started an endless conversation about freedom of speech, human rights, and the role of governments. Definitely recommend.
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put it Down It's nice to know that there are still people out there that are willing to stand up and die for their beliefs, and fight corruption.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from My take is a bit different While Browder's cause is obviously just and worthy he does come across as incredibly naive to think it a good idea to publicly confront deputy prime minister Dmitri Medvedev. This may even have been the catalyst for his and Magnitsky's problems with the Russian mafia state. The story is a good example of pure moral outrage operating as a monkey wrench thrown into international diplomacy.
Date published: 2018-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Book!!! I probably read this book in a matter of days. The combination of it being a true-life story that still impacts politics today, it was also wonderfully written. It shows how little Russia has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union
Date published: 2018-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top Book! This book is a true-life spy novel and a cautionary tale about doing business in Russia. The book still relevant as the Russians just tried to get Bill Browder arrested and extradited via an interpol red notice warrant. Wow!
Date published: 2018-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read Super interesting look at post Soviet corruption in Russia. Recommend.
Date published: 2018-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cool A brilliant crime drama that is based on real events. It almost reads like a fiction, and yet it is non-fiction.
Date published: 2018-04-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A crime drama so good you'd think it's fiction! Red Notice is one of those rare non-fiction books that reads like a piece of fiction: fast paced, interesting characters, unsuspecting plot twists. You wouldn't think that a book written by a high finance guy could do that but Browder does that. Part bio, part crime drama, I loved reading about Browder's background. How does a nice Jewish kid who went to some of the best schools in the country end up in Russia and at the centre of a corruption scandal? Just writing that makes me think I'm writing a review of a John Grisham novel, except this book has much more substance. You can't help but develop compassion and empathy for Browder and his friends, especially the true protagonist of the story, Magnitsky, as they battle a corrupt system and try to seek justice in a lawless land. This was one of those books that I hated to put down at night and was sad to see it end because there's so many unanswered questions remaining. I also appreciated the story of triumph over tragedy and how one man, someone at first glance you would not think would bat an eye for international human rights, was at the forefront working with some of the country's most influential politicians to bring justice to a friend in a faraway land. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy Read of a Complicated History I found this biography extremely easy to read, while it taught me about the complexity of Russia's corrupt government. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for a fast-paced book that leaves you wanting to learn more and more.
Date published: 2018-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book! What a book! The first hand story of the corruption in Russia was insane. I couldn't put the book down. Highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put the book down Reality is indeed stranger than fiction. I couldn't put this book down, highly recommend it.
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok It had me hooked at first, but lost me near the middle
Date published: 2018-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't stop reading I was engaged in the story from the very start and was anxious to read what would happen next.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from must read couldn't put this book down
Date published: 2017-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! So interesting, dives into Russian corruption, one incredibly brave and intelligent man is up for the challenge. Difficult book to put down, would definitely recommend this one! Its a true story!
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hard to get into Not as engaging as I had hoped
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unbelievable, but true The story is so fantastic and disturbing it's hard to remember sometimes that it's all true. It paints a picture not often seen of a culture so different from the western world.
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Inspirational and delightful.
Date published: 2017-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Not the best writing in the world but the story hooks you from the start.
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Liked it This book will blow away many misconceptions the reader might have about the benevolence of states and Russia in particular
Date published: 2017-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Noticed and Read ... and Enjoyed As founder of Hermitage Fund - the first, most successful, and most visible investment fund in Russia - Bill Browder had a front row seat to the opening, rise, and (Russian Crisis) crash of the formerly communist market. For this alone the book would be an interesting read to investors and those interested in frontier markets. But in 1997 Browder found himself dragged from the front row and onto the stage, as he confronted one of Russia's most powerful oligarchs, Vladimir Potanin, who had specifically targeted Browder's fund - and his fund alone - with a dilutive share offering that would have significantly reduced the value of Hermitage's ownership stake. Browder fought the oligarch and won, and thus set in motion a remarkable series of international events at the highest levels, including personal vendettas, political intrigue, and murder. The second half of Browders' book broadens its audience appeal to anyone interested in global politics or global business - a riveting and cautionary tale to those who would venture from their home turf. Combined, though, the book's two halves offer an even more compelling story about two decades of Russian corruption and duplicity. It gives perspective unavailable from the episodic news items such as: the author's feud with Potanin; the Russian economic crisis; Browder's ongoing challenge to the oligarchs, passively accepted by Russian President Vladimir Putin; and, once the oligarchs had been tamed, Putin's subsequent campaign against the author; the murder of Browder's lawyer Sergei Magnitsky; and the subsequent blacklisting of named Russian figures under the Magnitsky Act. Readers will remember some of the events, but woven into a page-turning narrative they will come away with a far greater understanding of the Russian state and its political goals and operations than through any well-written journal or newspaper article. For this reason, the book will be of interest to anyone with an interest in politics, business, human rights ... or hair-raising autobiographies. Though it mentions nothing of the 2016 US election (it was published in 2015), the long trajectory that Red Notice follows is thought provoking and may help those on both the left and the right to situate current election-meddling issues within a broader context. Apart from his direct criticism of Russian political leadership - in particular Putin - and of endemic corruption and lies, Browder is apolitical and has a genuine warmth for individual Russians. The British government is held to account in its many failures to help the author, and in the US he offers both praise (bipartisan for the Senate and House) and criticism (especially the Clinton and (soon to be) Kerry State Departments). Interestingly, Canada's current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, shows up twice in short but important moments in her former role as a senior reporter for the Financial Times and Reuters. Red Notice is an electric mix of Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker and John Perkins' Confessions of an Economic Hitman, with a touch of Bernstein and Woodward's All the President's Men. Just as Lewis did to immortalize the go-go days of Wall Street bond trading, and Perkins did to lay bare America's international economic subterfuge, Browder's book offers an important perspective and record of Putin's Russia as a well-oiled machine designed to accrue wealth and power at the expense of individuals' economic and human rights. A powerfully written story about absolute power.
Date published: 2017-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC and True What an excellent read I have always known how corrupt Russia was and is being a neighbor of Russia and this book just confirmed everything I recommend highly
Date published: 2017-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent More than just a book about finance. You don't even need to understand financial markets to enjoy this book. Recommend.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great a good read and the story continues.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Interesting This book grips you right from the opening page, and it is difficult to put down. I enjoyed the story, but it was difficult not to carry a level of scepticism throughout reading it. Browder enlightened me to some of the deeper issues within Russia.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! This book was Great Read!! A spy, international thriller that was not fiction, but lived by real life people. The lengths of corruption and deceit within Russia are mind blowing. Strongly Recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable A fascinating read. An eye opener when you realize this is not fiction, but real events happening in the world today. You just wish there was more justice.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book was amazing. I couldn't put it down! Give yourself a free day to read because you will not want to stop reading!
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging true story This book was recommended to me by a coworker and is a fantastic read. The perfect balance of business, politics and human rights - and a true story to boot! It is a fairly easy read and perfect for a weekend/ beach.
Date published: 2016-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great addition to the library of your house This book is great. I couldn't put it down and had to keep reading from start to finish! I have recommended this book to so many people!
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! From the moment I started reading this book I could not put it down. Highly entertaining and the fact that it is a true story makes it that much better. Highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must Read! I am a self proclaimed unpolitical person. I was skeptical the moment I saw this. From the first page I was captivated. I must admit I was absolutely thrilled I was wrong about my initial biased judgement. It is absolutely riveting. The insight given into Russia's back handed politics, as well as a very unnerving lack of morals and compassion for the people was astounding. Wow! written by Bill Browder as he shares his trials and tribulations as well as his views on how his persistence, as well as his solid moral compass will leave you on the edge of your seat!!!!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard to put down It makes to squirm with the amount of corruption he unearths in post Soviet Russia, then breaks your heart with how he seeks justice for others. Must read!
Date published: 2016-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Micheal Lewis meets Grisham Great read. First, it's true, however it reads like a very entertaining fiction book. I recommend reading this book especially if you are a market professional. Even if you are not you will follow along as there is significantly more suspense than there is investing. Read it! It opened my eyes a touch wider on how business gets done in Communist countries. Not surprised at all now.
Date published: 2016-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A very exciting read. I found this book exciting, emotional, maddening and disturbing. It is a detailed account of the corruption in the Soviet Union that reads like fiction. I would highly recommend it.
Date published: 2016-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Red Notice I could not put this book down! Fantastic and emotional read.
Date published: 2016-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Journey for justice I don't think words can express how this true account of one man's journey for justice touched me. I am grateful for Mr. Browder for putting into words his experience, strength, dedication and compassion for justice and I believe Sergei Magnitsky is proud of his dear friend, Bill Browder.
Date published: 2016-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating I bought this book not expecting much, yet the text underneath the cover were as strong as caffeine and kept me up all night. I would recommend, in fact, beg you to buy or borrow this book. It deserves to be the book of the year!
Date published: 2016-01-07

Read from the Book

Red Notice 1 Persona Non Grata November 13, 2005 I’m a numbers guy, so I’ll start with some important ones: 260; 1; and 4,500,000,000. Here’s what they mean: every other weekend I traveled from Moscow, the city where I lived, to London, the city I called home. I had made the trip 260 times over the last ten years. The “1” purpose of this trip was to visit my son, David, then eight, who lived with my ex-wife in Hampstead. When we divorced, I made a commitment to visit him every other weekend no matter what. I had never broken it. There were 4,500,000,000 reasons to return to Moscow so regularly. This was the total dollar value of assets under management by my firm, Hermitage Capital. I was the founder and CEO, and over the previous decade I had made many people a lot of money. In 2000, the Hermitage Fund had been ranked as the best performing emerging-markets fund in the world. We had generated returns of 1,500 percent for investors who had been with us since we launched the fund in 1996. The success of my business was far beyond my most optimistic aspirations. Post-Soviet Russia had seen some of the most spectacular investment opportunities in the history of financial markets, and working there had been as adventurous—and occasionally, dangerous—as it was profitable. It was never boring. I had made the trip from London to Moscow so many times I knew it backward and forward: how long it took to get through security at Heathrow; how long it took to board the Aeroflot plane; how long it took to take off and fly east into the darkening country that, by mid-November, was moving fast into another cold winter. The flight time was 270 minutes. This was enough to skim the Financial Times, the Sunday Telegraph, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, along with any important emails and documents. As the plane climbed, I opened my briefcase to get out the day’s reading. Along with the files and newspapers and glossy magazines was a small leather folder. In this folder was $7,500 in $100 bills. With it, I would have a better chance of being on that proverbial last flight out of Moscow—like those who had narrowly escaped Phnom Penh or Saigon before their countries fell into chaos and ruin. But I was not escaping from Moscow, I was returning to it. I was returning to work. And, therefore, I wanted to catch up on the weekend’s news. One Forbes article I read near the end of the flight caught my eye. It was about a man named Jude Shao, a Chinese American who, like me, had an MBA from Stanford. He had been a few years behind me at business school. I didn’t know him, but also like me, he was a successful businessman in a foreign land. In his case, China. He’d gotten into a conflict with some corrupt Chinese officials, and in April 1998, Shao was arrested after refusing to pay a $60,000 bribe to a tax collector in Shanghai. Shao was eventually convicted on trumped-up charges and sentenced to sixteen years in prison. Some Stanford alumni had organized a lobbying campaign to get him out, but it didn’t work. As I read, Shao was rotting away in some nasty Chinese prison. The article gave me the chills. China was ten times safer than Russia when it came to doing business. For a few minutes, as the plane descended through ten thousand feet over Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, I wondered if perhaps I was being stupid. For years, my main approach to investing had been shareholder activism. In Russia that meant challenging the corruption of the oligarchs, the twenty-some-odd men who were reported to have stolen 39 percent of the country after the fall of communism and who became billionaires almost overnight. The oligarchs owned the majority of the companies trading on the Russian stock market and they were often robbing those companies blind. For the most part, I had been successful in my battles with them, and while this strategy made my fund successful, it also made me a lot of enemies. As I finished the story about Shao, I thought, Maybe I should cool it. I have a lot to live for. Along with David, I also had a new wife in London. Elena was Russian, beautiful, incredibly smart, and very pregnant with our first child. Maybe I should give it a rest. But then the wheels touched down and I put the magazines away, powered up my BlackBerry, and closed my briefcase. I started checking emails. My focus turned from Jude Shao and the oligarchs to what I had missed while in the air. I had to get through customs, to my car, and back to my apartment. Sheremetyevo Airport is a strange place. The terminal that I was most familiar with, Sheremetyevo-2, was built for the 1980 Summer Olympics. It must have looked impressive when it opened, but by 2005 it was far worse for the wear. It smelled of sweat and cheap tobacco. The ceiling was decorated with row upon row of metal cylinders that looked like rusty cans of Folgers coffee. There was no formal line at passport control, so you had to take your place in a mass of people and stay on guard so that no one jumped ahead of you. And God forbid you checked a bag. Even after your passport was stamped you’d have to wait another hour to claim your luggage. After a four-hour-plus flight, it was not a fun way to gain entry into Russia, particularly if you were doing the trip every other weekend as I was. I had done it this way since 1996, but around 2000 a friend of mine told me about the so-called VIP service. For a small fee it saved about an hour, sometimes two. It was by no means luxurious, but it was worth every penny. I went directly from the plane to the VIP lounge. The walls and ceiling were painted pea-soup green. The floor was tan linoleum. The lounge chairs, upholstered with reddish brown leather, were just comfortable enough. The attendants there served weak coffee or overbrewed tea while you waited. I opted for the tea with a slice of lemon and gave the immigration officer my passport. Within seconds, I was engrossed in my BlackBerry’s email dump. I barely noticed when my driver, Alexei, who was authorized to enter the suite, came in and started chatting with the immigration officer. Alexei was forty-one like me, but unlike me was six feet five inches, 240 pounds, blond, and hard-featured. He was a former colonel with the Moscow Traffic Police and didn’t speak a word of English. He was always on time—and always able to talk his way out of minor jams with traffic cops. I ignored their conversation, answered emails, and drank my lukewarm tea. After a while, an announcement came over the public address system that the baggage from my flight was ready for retrieval. That’s when I looked up and thought, Have I been in here for an hour? I looked at my watch. I had been there for an hour. My flight landed around 7:30 p.m. and now it was 8:32. The other two passengers from my flight in the VIP lounge were long gone. I shot Alexei a look. He gave me one back that said, Let me check. While he spoke with the agent, I called Elena. It was only 5:32 p.m. in London so I knew she would be home. While we talked, I kept an eye on Alexei and the immigration officer. Their conversation quickly turned into an argument. Alexei tapped the desk as the agent glared at him. “Something’s wrong,” I told Elena. I stood and approached the desk, more irritated than worried, and asked what was going on. As I got closer, I realized something was seriously wrong. I put Elena on speakerphone and she translated for me. Languages are not my thing—even after ten years, I still spoke only taxi Russian. The conversation went around and around. I watched like a spectator at a tennis match, my head bouncing back and forth. Elena said at one point, “I think it’s a visa issue, but the agent isn’t saying.” Just then two uniformed immigration officers entered the room. One pointed at my phone and the other at my bags. I said to Elena, “There’re two officers here telling me to hang up and go with them. I’ll call back as soon as I can.” I hung up. One officer picked up my bags. The other collected my immigration papers. Before I left with them, I looked to Alexei. His shoulders and eyes drooped, his mouth slightly agape. He was at a loss. He knew that when things go bad in Russia, they usually go bad in a big way. I went with the officers and we snaked through the back hallways of Sheremetyevo-2 toward the larger, regular immigration hall. I asked them questions in my bad Russian, but they said nothing as they escorted me to a general detention room. The lights there were harsh. The molded-plastic chairs were bolted to the ground in rows. The beige paint on the walls peeled here and there. A few other angry-looking detainees lolled around. None talked. All smoked. The officers left. Sealed off behind a counter-and-glass partition on the far side of the room was a collection of uniformed agents. I chose a seat near them and tried to make sense of what was happening. For some reason I was allowed to keep all my things, including my mobile phone, which had a workable signal. I took this as a good sign. I tried to settle in, but as I did, the story of Jude Shao reregistered in my mind. I checked my watch: 8:45 p.m. I called Elena back. She wasn’t worried. She told me she was preparing a briefing fax for the British embassy officials in Moscow and would fax it to them as soon as it was ready. I called Ariel, an Israeli ex-Mossad agent who worked as my company’s security adviser in Moscow. He was widely considered to be one of the best in the country, and I was confident that he could sort out this problem. Ariel was surprised to hear what was happening. He said he’d make some calls and get back to me. At around 10:30 I called the British embassy and spoke to a man named Chris Bowers, in the consular section. He had received the fax from Elena and already knew my situation, or at least knew as much as I did. He double-checked all my information—date of birth, passport number, date my visa was issued, everything. He said because it was Sunday night, he probably wouldn’t be able to do much, but he would try. Before hanging up, he asked, “Mr. Browder, have they given you anything to eat or drink?” “No,” I answered. He made a little humming noise, and I thanked him before saying good-bye. I tried to make myself comfortable on the plastic chair but couldn’t. Time crawled by. I got up. I paced through a curtain wall of cigarette smoke. I tried not to look at the vacant stares of the other men who were also being detained. I checked my email. I called Ariel, but he didn’t answer. I walked to the glass and started talking to the officers in my poor Russian. They ignored me. I was nobody to them. Worse, I was already a prisoner. It bears mentioning that in Russia there is no respect for the individual and his or her rights. People can be sacrificed for the needs of the state, used as shields, trading chips, or even simple fodder. If necessary, anyone can disappear. A famous expression of Stalin’s drives right to the point: “If there is no man, there is no problem.” That’s when Jude Shao from the Forbes article wedged back into my consciousness. Should I have been more cautious in the past? I’d gotten so used to fighting oligarchs and corrupt Russian officials that I had become inured to the possibility that, if someone wanted it badly enough, I could disappear too. I shook my head, forcing Jude out of my mind. I went back to the guards to try to get something—anything—out of them, but it was useless. I went back to my seat. I called Ariel again. This time, he answered. “What’s going on, Ariel?” “I’ve spoken to several people, and none of them are talking.” “What do you mean none of them are talking?” “I mean none of them are talking. I’m sorry, Bill, but I need more time. It’s Sunday night. No one’s available.” “Okay. Let me know as soon as you hear anything.” “I will.” We hung up. I called the embassy again. They hadn’t made any progress either. They were getting stonewalled or I wasn’t in the system yet or both. Before hanging up, the consul asked again, “Have they given you anything to eat or something to drink?” “No,” I repeated. It seemed like such a meaningless question, but Chris Bowers clearly thought otherwise. He must have had experience with this type of situation before, and it struck me as a very Russian tactic not to offer either food or water. The room filled with more detainees as the clock passed midnight. All were men, all looked as if they had come from former Soviet republics. Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Kazakhs, Armenians. Their luggage, if they even had any, was simple duffel bags or strange, oversize nylon shopping bags that were all taped up. Each man smoked incessantly. Some spoke in low whispers. None showed any kind of emotion or concern. They made as much effort to notice me as the guards did, even though I was clearly a fish out of water: nervous, blue blazer, BlackBerry, black rolling suitcase. I called Elena again. “Anything on your end?” She sighed. “No. And yours?” “Nothing.” She must have heard the concern in my voice. “It’ll be fine, Bill. If this really is just a visa issue, you’ll be back here tomorrow. I’m sure of it.” Her calmness helped. “I know.” I looked at my watch. It was 10:30 p.m. in England. “Go to sleep, honey. You and the baby need the rest.” “Okay. I’ll call you straightaway if I get any information.” “Me too.” “Good night.” “Good night. I love you,” I added, but she’d already hung up. A flicker of doubt crossed my mind: What if this wasn’t simply a visa issue? Would I ever see Elena again? Would I ever meet our unborn child? Would I ever see my son, David? As I fought these dire feelings, I tried to arrange myself across the hard chairs, using my jacket as a pillow, but the chairs were made for preventing sleep. Not to mention I was surrounded by a bunch of menacing-looking people. How was I going to drift off around these characters? I wasn’t. I sat up and started typing on my BlackBerry, making lists of people I had met over the years in Russia, Britain, and America who might be able to help me: politicians, businesspeople, reporters. Chris Bowers called one last time before his shift ended at the embassy. He assured me that the person taking over for him would be fully briefed. He still wanted to know whether I had been offered food or water. I hadn’t. He apologized, even though there was nothing he could do. He was clearly keeping a record of mistreatment should the need for one ever arise. After we hung up, I thought, Shit. By then it was two or three in the morning. I turned off my BlackBerry to conserve its battery and tried again to sleep. I threw a shirt from my bag over my eyes. I dry-swallowed two Advil for a headache that had started. I tried to forget about it all. I tried to convince myself that I’d be leaving tomorrow. This was just a problem with my visa. One way or another, I’d be leaving Russia. After a while, I drifted off. I woke at around 6:30 a.m., when there was a crush of new detainees. More of the same. No one like me. More cigarettes, more whispering. The smell of sweat increased by several orders of magnitude. My mouth tasted foul, and for the first time I realized how thirsty I was. Chris Bowers had been right to ask if they’d offered me anything to eat or drink. We had access to a rank toilet, but these bastards should have given us food and water. All the same, I’d awakened feeling positive that this was just a bureaucratic misunderstanding. I called Ariel. He still hadn’t been able to figure out what was going on, but he did say that the next flight to London left at 11:15 a.m. I had only two alternatives: I would either be arrested or deported, so I tried to convince myself I’d be on that flight. I busied myself as best I could. I answered some emails as if it were a normal workday. I checked with the embassy. The new consul on duty assured me that once things started opening for the day, they’d take care of me. I got my stuff together and tried once more to talk to the guards. I asked them for my passport, but they continued to ignore me. It was as if that were their only job: to sit behind the glass and ignore all the detainees. I paced: 9:00; 9:15; 9:24; 9:37. I grew more and more nervous. I wanted to call Elena, but it was too early in London. I called Ariel and he still had nothing for me. I stopped calling people. By 10:30 a.m. I was banging on the glass, and the officers still ignored me with the utmost professionalism. Elena called. This time she couldn’t soothe me. She promised we’d figure out my situation, but I was beginning to feel that it didn’t matter. Jude Shao was looming large in my mind now. 10:45. I really began to panic. 10:51. How could I have been so stupid? Why would an average guy from the South Side of Chicago think he could get away with taking down one Russian oligarch after another? 10:58. Stupid, stupid, stupid! ARROGANT AND STUPID, BILL! ARROGANT AND JUST PLAIN STUPID! 11:02. I’m going to a Russian prison. I’m going to a Russian prison. I’m going to a Russian prison. 11:05. Two jackbooted officers stormed into the room and made a beeline for me. They grabbed my arms and gathered my stuff and pulled me from the detention room. They took me out, through the halls, up a flight of stairs. This was it. I was going to be thrown into a paddy wagon and taken away. But then they kicked open a door and we were in the departures terminal and moving fast. My heart lifted as we passed gates and gawking passengers. Then we were at the gate for the 11:15 London flight, and I was being ushered down the Jetway and onto the plane and hustled through business class and deposited in a middle seat in coach. The officers didn’t say a word. They put my bag in the overhead compartment. They didn’t give me my passport. They left. People on the plane tried hard not to stare, but how could they not? I ignored them. I was not going to a Russian prison. I texted Elena that I was on my way home and that I would see her soon enough. I texted her that I loved her. We took off. As the wheels thumped into the fuselage, I experienced the biggest sense of relief I have ever felt in my life. Making and losing money by the hundreds of millions of dollars didn’t compare. We reached cruising altitude and the meal service came around. I hadn’t eaten for more than twenty-four hours. Lunch that day was some kind of awful beef Stroganoff, but it was the best thing I had ever eaten. I took three extra rolls. I drank four bottles of water. And then I passed out. I didn’t wake until the plane hit the runway in England. As we taxied, I made a mental catalog of all the things I was going to have to deal with. First and foremost was working my way through British customs without a passport. But that would be easy enough. England was my home and, ever since I had taken British citizenship in 1998, my adopted country. The bigger picture had to do with Russia. How was I going to get out of this mess? Who was responsible for it? Whom could I call in Russia? Whom in the West? The plane stopped, the public address system chimed, and the seat belts all came off. When it was my turn, I walked down the aisle to the exit. I was totally preoccupied. I got closer to the exit and didn’t notice the pilot at the front watching the passengers deplane. When I reached him, he interrupted my thoughts by holding out a hand. I looked at it. In it was my British passport. I took it without saying a word. Customs took five minutes. I got in a cab and went to my apartment in London. When I arrived, I gave Elena a long hug. I’d never felt so thankful for the embrace of another person. I told her how much I loved her. She gave me a big, doe-eyed smile. We spoke about my predicament as we made our way, hand in hand, to our shared home office. We sat at our desks. We turned on the computers and picked up the phones and got to work. I had to figure out how I was going to return to Russia.

Editorial Reviews

"A frightening account of corruption and murder and deceit at the highest levels. . . . A fascinating report that reads more like a mystery thriller."