HSBC Shutters Hermitage Fund as Russia Chases Browder in Courts

HSBC is closing Hermitage Capital Management Ltd.’s flagship Russia fund just as its co-founder, William Browder, is being sued for libel in London and tried in absentia for tax evasion in Moscow.

'It was too small to continue as a viable concern', Browder said by phone Monday from London, where he’s based. Browder said the closing is 'completely' in the hands of HSBC, which is the trustee and manager of the fund.

Bloomberg reports that the Hermitage Fund, which Browder started in 1996 with the late billionaire Edmond Safra, was the largest foreign owner of Russian shares when it peaked at more than $4n in 2005, according to Browder.

Russia barred Browder from the country without explanation that November, triggering years of legal conflict, including over the 2009 death of Hermitage adviser Sergei Magnitsky while he was in pretrial detention in Moscow.

The decision to shutter the fund has angered at least one investor, Tim Enneking of Altima Asset Management in Moscow, who said HSBC units provoked the closing by freezing the fund in August to assess how much money to set aside for Hermitage’s legal battles. A former Russian investigator, Pavel Karpov, filed a libel suit against Browder and Hermitage Capital in the U.K. on August 1st over allegations Karpov was involved in Magnitsky’s death.

Hit the link below to access the complete Bloomberg article:

HSBC Shutters Hermitage Fund as Russia Chases Browder in Courts

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