In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Russian prosecutor accuses Britain of harbouring fugitives

Posted by seumasach on February 27, 2010

“It is not petty thieves who hide out there but figures with significant funds. It seems that London, as a major financial centre, is turning into a giant launderette for laundering criminally-sourced funds.”

Telegraph

26th February, 2010

Recalling that one of London’s nicknames is “Londongrad” due to its large number of Russian residents, Alexander Zvygintsev, Russia’s deputy prosecutor general, claimed that the UK and Israel harbour more Russian criminals than any other countries. Over 66,000 Russian nationals are currently on the run abroad, he added.

“The greatest number of such fugitives is hiding out in Israel and Britain,” he told state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. “It is no coincidence that the capital of the latter is often called Londongrad.”

“It is not petty thieves who hide out there but figures with significant funds. It seems that London, as a major financial centre, is turning into a giant launderette for laundering criminally-sourced funds.”

Mr Zvygintsev went on to accuse Britain of flouting the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, saying the UK often granted asylum status to fugitive Russian nationals on fabricated grounds and then refused to extradite them “for political reasons”.

He complained that wealthy Russian fugitives were skilled at taking advantage of liberal laws such as those in the UK to win asylum on bogus political grounds in order “to protect themselves from being handed over to face Russian justice.

“A huge number of specifically these kinds of ‘jailbirds’ have sought sanctuary in Britain,” he lamented.

Although he did not name him, billionaire oligarch Boris Berezovsky was likely to have been in his thoughts. British courts have long refused to extradite Mr Berezovsky who has been convicted in Russia (in absentia) for massive embezzlement. Mr Berezovsky, who has political asylum in the UK and is a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, has successfully argued that the charges are trumped up and said he could not get real justice in Russia.

Other prominent London-based Russian fugitives include Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev and businessman Yevgeny Chichvarkin, the founder of Russia’s largest phone retailer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: