Boris Johnson’s law change on sanctions is too little, too late – because he’s a Russian stooge?

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: Johnson put this son of a Russian KGB officer into the UK’s House of Lords – because, it is widely believed – Lebedev’s Evening Standard helped Johnson’s rise to power.

Boris Johnson has been shamed into changing the law so it is easier to sanction Russians with assets in the UK, stung by criticism that the UK is acting too slowly.

Ministers are tabling amendments to the Economic Crime Bill in order to help the UK align with penalties imposed by allies in the EU and US.

The change will be fast-tracked through Parliament on Monday, meaning allies of Vladimir Putin with money and property in the UK will have another three days’ grace in which to stash their assets elsewhere.

Public opinion is that the Tories have been slow to act because they have taken a fortune in donations from Russians – and they want to know what these UK politicians were asked to do in return for that – as they understand it – dirty money.

Rather than respond to that question, the government seems to have chosen to leave it hanging in the air – trying to divert attention to what it is doing now:

Apparently a minister (was it Hinds?) said that Unexplained Wealth Orders were introduced years ago to allow the government to confiscate assets from people suspected of wrongdoing – and it is widely believed that much of the Russian cash flowing around the UK – and British politics – is ill-gotten. But this just provoked another hard question – and embarrassing answer:

So, Unexplained Wealth Orders have been an unqualified failure – were they mentioned merely to provide an appearance of activity when none has taken place?


It was Boris Johnson’s old friend Lubov Chernukhin. She donated £13,750 in October and £66,500 in December, just months before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. In total she has handed £2 million to the Tories.

And what do you think of this?

The analysis – which includes many legitimate companies – suggests that thousands of firms listed on the UK’s business register are controlled by Russian nationals who live in the country, with some linked to Putin’s allies.

The final example of Russian influence in the UK, that I’ll include in this article, is something I heard on Radio 4’s Today programme on March 3:

The presenter – I think it was Evan Davis – said it had been suggested that properties like Sutton Place could be seized and used to house displaced Ukrainians. He expressed deep scepticism that the Tory government would ever have the courage to make such a move.

And this is the problem – one that won’t go away when Johnson introduces a “too little, too late” law change on Monday:

We simply don’t believe prime minister can effectively sanction Russians in the UK when he was compromised and corrupted with dirty Russian money long before he got anywhere near Downing Street.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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