Damian Collins Accepts Donation From Russian Billionaire Friend of Putin

Grandstanding select committee chairman Damian Collins has spent the last year chasing headlines about Russian interference in British politics. So it’s a bit rich of him to be taking donations from a Russian billionaire who is a close ally of Vladimir Putin…

The latest Register of Members’ Interests reveals that Collins accepted two tickets worth £1,000 to a football match at Stamford Bridge paid for by Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea FC. Abramovich has since had his visa renewal application delayed by the UK government, reportedly due to his close links to Putin. The oligarch was described by the Guardian last month as a “big Kremlin player”. Perhaps Collins should write himself one of his famous letters…

mdi-timer 11th June 2018 @ 5:25 pm 11th Jun 2018 @ 5:25 pm mdi-comment Comments
Top Tory’s Firm Implicated in Russian Dirty Money Report

Russophile former Tory minister Greg Barker’s firm EN+ has been implicated in the Foreign Affairs select committee report into dirty Russian money in London. Lord Barker’s primary role as chairman of EN+ was to give the group a veneer of respectability and to reassure the City as the Russian energy and aluminium producer listed on the London Stock Exchange last year. Then last month, Barker’s boss Oleg Deripaska was whacked with sanctions by the US government and accused of “benefiting from the Putin regime and playing a key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities”. While the FASC report says “there is no evidence of impropriety in the legal sense”, it is damning of the EN+ flotation on the LSE:

The flotation of En+ Group on the London Stock Exchange in November 2017, which raised around £1bn in share sales, provides an example of the contradictions inherent in UK Government policy towards Russia…

In February 2018, press reports emerged suggesting that both MI6 and US security officials had expressed serious concern about the IPO. One unnamed US official reportedly told the Telegraph: “What is the point of the U.S. imposing sanctions on Russia if the Russians can then get round them in Britain?”…

the ease with which such large-scale transactions occur also sends political messages that undermine the Government’s condemnation of what the Prime Minister has called the “well-established pattern of Russian state aggression”, encouraging President Putin and his associates to conclude that the money supporting that aggression is safe and welcome in London…

The use of London as a base for the corrupt assets of Kremlin-connected individuals is now clearly linked to a wider Russian strategy and has implications for our national security. Combating it should be a major UK foreign policy priority. The assets stored and laundered in London both directly and indirectly support President Putin’s campaign to subvert the international rules-based system, undermine our allies, and erode the mutually-reinforcing international networks that support UK foreign policy. The size of London’s financial markets and their importance to Russian investors gives the UK considerable leverage over the Kremlin. But turning a blind eye to London’s role in hiding the proceeds of Kremlin-connected corruption risks signalling that the UK is not serious about confronting the full spectrum of President Putin’s offensive measures.

We call on the Government to investigate the gaps in the sanctions regime that allowed a company such as En+ to float on the London Stock Exchange, and to work with the G7, whose markets dominate the financial world, and other international partners, to close those gaps as soon as possible.

Barker should be under pressure to resign over this scandal but has been let off the hook as ministers and Tory MPs have failed to criticise him. How can the Tories be claiming to take dirty Russian money in London seriously when they stayed silent as one of their own helped float a Putin crony’s company in London?

mdi-timer 21st May 2018 @ 9:32 am 21st May 2018 @ 9:32 am mdi-comment Comments
Thornberry: I Don’t Accept Russia is Blocking Chemical Weapons Inspectors

Thornberry has been listening to Seumas again. The audience wasn’t impressed…

mdi-timer 20th April 2018 @ 12:11 am 20th Apr 2018 @ 12:11 am mdi-comment Comments
Boris: “Extraordinary” to Deny Russian Responsibility For Salisbury Attack

He says the Russians are “demented” for claiming Britain did it…

mdi-timer 15th April 2018 @ 11:06 am 15th Apr 2018 @ 11:06 am mdi-comment Comments
Corbyn Not Yet Convinced Russia Did Salisbury Attack

Not sure who else he thinks it could’ve been…

He also isn’t convinced the Assad regime was responsible for the Douma gas attack either, saying that Assad “or any other group” that carried it out must be confronted with evidence.

There’s a theme here…

mdi-timer 15th April 2018 @ 9:58 am 15th Apr 2018 @ 9:58 am mdi-comment Comments
Greg Barker’s Firm Shares Plummet After Russian Oligarch Boss Sanctioned By Trump

Last month Guido reported on how Russophile former Tory minister Greg Barker was working for Oleg Deripaska as chairman of En+ Group. Well, since then Deripaska was whacked with sanctions by President Trump and accused by the US of “benefiting from the Putin regime and playing a key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities”. Bad news for Barker’s En+, whose shares plummeted 22% on Friday and fell another 17% today.

Barker is one Tory who knows sanctions against Russian wrong ‘uns work…

mdi-timer 9th April 2018 @ 4:18 pm 9th Apr 2018 @ 4:18 pm mdi-comment Comments
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