A British financier who has infuriated the Kremlin by spearheading legislation worldwide to sanction Russian officials and oligarchs said on Wednesday May 15th he is hopeful of a similar law being agreed in France.
A former top investor in Russia, William (Bill) Browder, started a campaign to penalise Russians accused of rights violations after his lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in a Russian jail in 2009.
With "Magnitsky Acts" now agreed by legislatures in Britain, Canada, the United States and the three Baltic states, Browder has stated that France is now a priority for his campaign.
If France passes the legislation, he said it would hit officials and oligarchs who own villas on the Cote d'Azur, sip coffee in St Tropez or enjoy residences in Paris.
Browder told AFP in an interview in Paris, "France is one of the most important countries in the world as far as a Magnitsky Act is concerned."
"France is one of the most coveted countries for dictators and kleptocrats to keep second homes and go on vacation. If you have sanctions against these people in some countries but not France, you are really missing something."
"It would be devastating. Every single oligarch has some presence here," he said.