Magnitsky Act Authorizes U.S. Government to Sanction Foreign Officials Deemed Human Rights Offenders
Indian Government Grossly Violating Rights of American Citizen Ramachandran Viswanathan
WASHINGTON (August 8, 2022) – Today, Frontiers of Freedom, announces the submission of a petition under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act urging the U.S. government to implement economic and visa sanctions against 11 Modi government officials for serious violations of human rights of U.S. citizen Ramachandran Viswanathan.
In 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016 along with Executive Order 13818 authorized the U.S. government to sanction foreign government officials worldwide who are deemed serious human rights offenders and to freeze their assets and restrict them from entering the United States, if they are found to have committed serious human rights abuses.
This action brought forth by Frontiers of Freedom on behalf of Ramachandran Viswanathan and in cooperation with his counsel, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, is in response to the Modi regime’s campaign of transnational repression against Mr. Viswanathan. The Modi government has sought to hoodwink the U.S. government into using the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters between the U.S. and India to gain intelligence, monitor, question and arrest Mr. Viswanathan. Alarmingly, the Indian government has put forth fake claims of fraud and criminal actions to Interpol in a deliberate effort to secure a Red Notice for the arrest and extradition of Mr. Viswanathan. This is all to stop the efforts of Mr. Viswanathan’s company he co-founded, Devas, from enforcing a billion dollar arbitration judgment against the Indian government.
George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom, made the following statement:
“The actions of the autocratic Indian regime led by Prime Minister Modi are an assault on the rule of law and the rights and freedoms granted to every American. We urge the U.S. government to look past India’s façade and punish, with sanctions, those who seek to violate the rights of Mr. Viswanathan. By doing so, the U.S. will send a strong signal to India and the rest of the world that the United States will not hesitate to stand up for the rule of law, and the rights and freedoms granted to every American.”
Matthew D. McGill, lead counsel to Devas shareholders and partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, made the following statement upon submission:
“The submission of this petition on behalf of Mr. Viswanathan sends a strong message to India: U.S. businesspersons and investors are protected under U.S. and international law, and any attempts to intimidate, harass, or retaliate against them by abusing international organizations and treaties will be met with swift, definitive action. The autocratic perpetrators within the Modi regime will be held accountable for their lawless, thuggish behavior.”
About Ramachandran Viswanathan
Ramachandran Viswanathan is currently CEO of Omnispace, a company focused on delivering the world’s first satellite and 5G-based ‘one global network.’ He is also the co-founder of Devas Multimedia.
Previously, as CEO of Devas Multimedia, Mr. Viswanathan pioneered the development of India’s satellite-terrestrial broadband internet and media services platform. Prior to that, he led the strategic partnerships as CSO and EVP of Business Development at Cidera. As WorldSpace’s SVP of Corporate Development, he helped formulated the successful U.S. joint venture, XM Satellite Radio. At McKinsey & Company, Mr. Viswanathan worked with U.S. and European telecommunications and technology clients and assisted in establishing its India consulting practice. He has also held positions at Goldman Sachs & Company in investment banking, focusing on mergers and acquisitions.
Mr. Viswanathan holds a master’s degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering and economics from the University of Maryland.
Concerns over Abuse from Grassley
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland raising concerns that India (and other foreign governments) are abusing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) and the Interpol Red Notice Process.
Grassley emphasized the critical role that DOJ plays in ensuring American citizens who are business entrepreneurs are protected from unlawful attempts by foreign governments to “undermine the rule of law“ and “retaliate against adverse litigants in international disputes.”
In his letter to AG Garland, Senator Grassley highlighted how “India has improperly requested that Interpol issue a Red Notice against Ramachandran Viswanathan, a U.S. citizen.”
About the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act
The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act along with Executive Order 13818 authorize the U.S. government to sanction foreign government officials worldwide who are deemed serious human rights offenders. NGOs, foreign governments and select Members of Congress are allowed to submit Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act petitions to the President and senior cabinet officials for consideration.
A petition is submitted to the Departments of State and Justice, who review and make a determination about whether to pursue sanctions against the government and individual persons identified as human rights abusers in the petition.
About Frontiers of Freedom
Frontiers of Freedom is an educational NGO whose mission is to promote the principles of individual freedom, peace through strength, limited government, free enterprise, free markets, and traditional American values as found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
About Gibson Dunn & Crutcher
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is an international law firm that advises clients on significant transactions and disputes around the world. Gibson Dunn has 20 offices and employs more than 1,600 lawyers around the world.