There is a war. We have sanctions. So why would the UK Treasury help Putins brutal ally?
It should never have taken the invasion of Ukraine to force a re-examination of the UKs easy accommodation of Russian oligarchs dirty money. For years ministers have turned a blind eye while London became the haven of choice for many of Putins allies. But with the invasion launched there could be no more not asking questions. No more looking the other way.
The purchase of mansions, the laundering of money, the use of expensive legal firms and consultants by allies of Putin and the Russian regime were all brought into stark relief as the Ukrainian army and people fought for their lives and their country.
Sanctions were announced against a number of individuals. British firms pulled out of Russia. Support for Ukraine extended across every political party in the House of Commons. And the arguments and excuses of British apologists for the Russian regime fell on deaf ears.
It is therefore remarkable that a unit in His Majestys Treasury has been accused of giving explicit permission to lawyers acting on behalf of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Russian mercenary army the Wagner Group. He aimed to silence and intimidate the British journalist Eliot Higgins, founder of the Bellingcat website.
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