Tag Archives: Putin

Tories took donations from oligarch linked to Putin. Is this why they never investigated Russian interference in UK politics?

Vladimir Putin: has Boris Johnson been his puppet since before he became the UK’s prime minister?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has definitely taken donations from people linked to Russia’s President Putin – and provided private meetings with the last three UK prime ministers in return.

The money totalling £1.7 million came from Vladimir Chernukhin via his wife Lubov, according to the so-called FinCEN files – leaked “suspicious activity reports” by banks.

According to BBC News,

Leaked files show her husband received $8m (£6.1m). The money initially came from a politician facing US sanctions due to his closeness to the Kremlin.

A leak of banks’ “suspicious activity reports” … shows Vladimir Chernukhin was sent the money in 2016 from a British Virgin Islands company linked to Suleyman Kerimov.

Billionaire Mr Kerimov is the owner of Russia’s biggest gold mine and member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.

In 2018 he was sanctioned by the US authorities, who were targeting those they said “play a key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities”.

Mr Chernukhin, 52, is a former deputy minister of finance under Vladimir Putin, who left Russia for London in 2004 after being sacked by the president.

The Chernukhins – one of the UK’s most prominent Russian-born couples – are now both British citizens and live in London.

Mrs Chernukhin’s donations to the Conservative Party began in 2012.

The majority – more than £1.5m – came after the $8m payment linked to Mr Kerimov was made to her husband on 29 April 2016, although it is not clear if any of that cash went to the Tories.

Mrs Chernukhin’s lawyers say the Kremlin had no influence because of the donations – but they would, wouldn’t they?

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has suffered a huge amount of bad publicity over his reluctance to do anything about suspicious donations from Russians linked to Putin’s government.

A report on Russian interference in UK politics – including the use of donations to influence policy – was due to be published before last year’s general election but Boris Johnson shelved it for no good reason.

It remained unpublished until pressure finally forced Johnson to re-convene the UK’s security committee, responsible for it, in July this year – nine months after the public should have seen it.

And it showed that successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

The Tories had been delighted to welcome Russian money and the oligarchs who owned it, “providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’.”

In response to the report, the government said it saw no evidence of interference – but it seems clear that there is a good reason for that: nobody was looking. The report made it clear that the defence of UK democratic processes was a “hot potato” over which no government organisation wanted to take the lead in conducting an assessment of Russian interference.

So we already had evidence that Conservative government had given Russian oligarchs who donated money to the party unprecedented access to – and, we may conclude, influence over – top-ranked political figures including the last three prime ministers.

Now we have evidence that this money is likely to have come from the Kremlin, attached to demands from the Putin government.

If Boris Johnson and his government continue to deny any wrongdoing – while refusing to allow an independent investigation – the public will have no choice but to brand them as corrupt lackeys of the Russians.

I mean…

How does it look to you?

Source: FinCEN Files: Tory donor Lubov Chernukhin linked to $8m Putin ally funding – BBC News

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Vladimir Putin is keen for us to get on with Brexit. Let’s laugh at him

Putin: He’s a big noise on the international stage but still hasn’t worked up the courage to go “full Godiva”.

Russian president Vladimir Putin thinks he’s a proper cheeky monkey, doesn’t he?

We all know there is evidence that suggests his government interfered with the European Union referendum in 2016, thanks to the efforts of campaigns like Arron Banks’s Leave.EU.

Part of that evidence includes a claim by current UK Chancellor Philip Hammond that Russia was the only country that would benefit from the UK leaving the EU – and now Mr Putin is demanding that the UK get on with it.

Trouble is, there are many people in the UK who say the decision to leave is based on false information and tainted by the (alleged) interference of Mr Putin and Russia.

So we need to be a little circumspect about the matter – and the last thing we want is to rush into anything just because the leader of some other country is antagonising us.

He’s probably worried about the increasing likelihood of a so-called “People’s Vote” mandating the government to keep us in the EU after all.

And in fact, his nagging tends to support the case against people lie Mr Banks, and undermines the validity of the decision of that 2016 plebiscite.

Furthermore, after he was accused of responsibility for the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings by Theresa May, British people are rightly wondering why he thinks Mrs May would want to do anything, just because he demanded it. The fact that she is desperately trying to get us out of the EU before the end of March is therefore a mystery to us – unless we conclude that she really does have friends who are tax evaders and is trying to protect them from a Euro law that comes into force in April.

So I tend to support the decision of those on the social media who have chosen to make a mockery of the Russian leader instead.

If you’ve seen a comment that you think should be included, feel free to send it in as a comment.

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To blazes with Brexit – it’s being handled by a government that used PUBLIC MONEY to undermine the Opposition

Jeremy Corbyn: According to the Tory government-funded “Integrity Initiative”, he’s a puppet of Putin. The problem with that claim lies in the fact that the organisation making it is funded to the Tories to do so.

Theresa May’s Conservative government spent £2.25 million of our money funding a “fake news” campaign to undermine the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn – after claiming it was clamping down on fake news.

We’ve just spent months debating whether Mrs May’s handling of Brexit is acceptable but now it should be clear that the only thing she should be allowed to handle in the future is prison food.

Misuse of public funds is an offence.

The so-called Institute of Statecraft – based in an old Victorian mill in Fife, Scotland – runs a programme called the Integrity Initiative using military intelligence specialists and £2.25 million of our cash to post false information on the social media about Mr Corbyn and Labour.

According to the Daily Record, “The ‘think tank’ is supposed to counter Russian online propaganda by forming ‘clusters’ of friendly journalists and ‘key influencers’ throughout Europe who use social media to hit back against disinformation.”

But it seems clear the organisation used the money handed to it by the Foreign Office for party political purposes: “One tweet quotes a newspaper article calling Corbyn a ‘useful idiot’, that goes on to state: His open visceral anti-Westernism helped the Kremlin cause, as surely as if he had been secretly peddling Westminster tittle-tattle for money.’

“Another added: ‘It’s time for the Corbyn left to confront its Putin problem.’ A further message refers to an ‘alleged British Corbyn supporter’ who ‘wants to vote for Putin’.”

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry wants to know exactly what has been going on. She said: “It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life that official resources should not be used for party political purposes.

“So it is simply outrageous that the clearly mis-named ‘Integrity Initiative’ – funded by the Foreign Office to the tune of £2.25 million over the past two years – has routinely been using its Twitter feed to disseminate personal attacks and smears against the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party and Labour officials.

“And this cannot be dismissed as something outside the Government’s control, given the application for funding agreed by the Foreign Office last year stated explicitly that it would be used in part to expand ‘the impact of the Integrity Initiative website…and Twitter/social media accounts’.

“So the Government must now answer the following questions: Why did the Foreign Office allow public money to be spent on attempting to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition? Did they know this was happening? If not, why not? And if they did, how on earth can they justify it?”

Labour MP Chris Williamson had tabled a Parliamentary question about the Institute for Statecraft, and received the following answer from FCO minister Alan Duncan: “The Institute for Statecraft is an independent, Scottish, charitable body whose work seeks to improve governance and enhance national security. They launched the Integrity Initiative in 2015 to defend democracy against disinformation.

“In financial year 2017/18, the FCO funded the Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative £296,500. This financial year, the FCO is funding a further £1,961,000. Both have been funded through grant agreements.”

Clearly, this answer is untrue. If the “Integrity Initiative” was intended “to defend democracy against disinformation”, then it had no business posting disinformation to the social media (in fact, nobody has any business posting disinformation to the social media).

An angry Mr Williamson, after the current revelations were published, said the Tories were “using public money to subvert democracy”.

Bizarrely, it is less than a year since Theresa May announced the creation of a “rapid response social media capability” intended to respond to the scourge of fake news, based in the Cabinet Office.

At the time, I wrote: “This is not an attempt to ensure a ‘fact-based public debate’. It is a bid to hijack the news and turn it into Tory propaganda.”

It seems I was right – they’ve just outsourced that function.

The Twitterati have, of course, been abuzz – and who can blame them?

Here’s a very good point:

This is quite right – it would be a list of people who peddle fake news that would be invaluable to those of us who want to stamp it out, although I think it would be better to hand it over to proper investigators, rather than the Cabinet Office organisation, in whatever form it currently takes.

For those of you who may have been convinced that Mr Corbyn really was a Russian puppet, here’s a quick response:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1071821310806900736

Of course, senior members of the Labour Party are incandescent with rage:

But there is another level to this – the lack of interest exhibited by the mainstream media. This story has been in two Scottish newspapers – the Sunday Mail and the Daily Record – and on a few social media sites like Vox Political. And that’s all. It is a huge story as it involves the misuse of public funds for party political purposes.

Why are the newspapers and broadcasters not covering it (as if we didn’t know the answer already)?

Yes, we should expect democracy to be defended.

Just not by right-wingers like those running the BBC and most of the print news media – or by our democratically-elected government.

Yet this is the government that wants to push us all through Brexit, in the name of democracy.

It doesn’t stack up. We need an election to get the Tories out of office, and then a police investigation to find out who authorised the Foreign Office to fund this offence.

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