Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"How the UK government is seeking to retake control of Londongrad"

Anyone on the outside who purports to know what is going on with the spy guys and spy gals, whether in the U.S., Britain, Russia or wherev, is at minimum a liar, knave, fool or varlet, and probably some combination thereof.

The writer of this piece, Con Coughlin is the defense and foreign affairs editor at the Telegraph who was part of a team that did a piece on  Oleg Deripaska last week which caused a bit of hubbub in some quarters, link after the jump.

This OpEd is from The National (UAE) Feb. 8:

MI6 regards Russia as posing a grave threat to British security, writes Con Coughlin
There was a time when London was known as Londonistan, owing to the preponderance of radical Islamist activists – many with close ties to extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood – who had taken refuge in the British capital, using it as a base from which to propagate their pernicious creed.
But now London is attracting a new, equally unflattering sobriquet, namely that of Londongrad, which is due to the large number of Russian oligarchs who have taken up residence in the city.
For the past few weeks, the dull winter nights in Britain have been enlivened by the BBC television drama McMafia, an unlikely tale about a British-educated member of a prominent family of oligarchs who becomes caught up in a bizarre world of Russian hitmen, Indian drug dealers and Israeli money-launderers. Entertaining, maybe, but most viewers see it more as a diverting thriller that bears little resemblance to reality.

And yet, to judge by some of the more controversial recent developments concerning Russian activity in London, the plot line might not be that far-fetched after all.

The latest scandal to emerge relates to the recent float of the Russian-owned energy and aluminium company EN+ on the London Stock Exchange at the end of last year.

EN+ is owned by Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia’s wealthiest men and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Mr Deripaska is something of a controversial figure in British political circles owing to his relationship with some of Britain’s most prominent political figures.

In 2008, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne found himself in hot water after he went on a sailing holiday with Mr Deripaska and former Labour minister Lord Mandelson, during which Mr Osborne was accused of soliciting illegal donations to the Tory party. Mr Osborne – who now edits the Russian-owned Evening Standard – furiously denied claims of any wrongdoing, thereby bringing the controversy to an end.

Now Mr Deripaska finds himself embroiled in a fresh controversy in Britain after the Daily Telegraph this week reported that senior officers at MI6, the intelligence service, were furious over the stock exchange decision to allow EN+ to float in London.

MI6 regards Russia as posing a grave threat to British security. Intelligence officers estimate there are now more Russian spies operating in the UK than there were at the height of the Cold War.
Their concerns over the flotation relate to Rusal, an aluminium company that is also owned by Mr Deripaska and is suspected of having links to the Russian military. EN+ owns half of Rusal, which until recently said on its website that a fine metal powder it produced was used “in the production of military equipment”.

British intelligence experts believe the same type of powder was used in a Russian-built Buk missile that Dutch investigators said shot down Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

Because of these suspicions, MI6 officers believe they should have been consulted prior to the flotation being allowed to proceed, on the grounds that it could have a direct bearing on Britain’s national security interests.

One senior intelligence officer familiar with the case described the flotation as a “scandal”....

TASS reported on Feb. 7 in response to the original Telegraph article:

Russian company En+ refutes Telegraph claims on violations during floating IPO 
The corporation is taking counsel with lawyers on the possible further actions...MORE

And from the Telegraph, February 6:
MI6 raises concerns after energy oligarch linked to Vladimir Putin makes £1bn on London Stock Exchange

Feb. 5
Russian Oligarchs In Britain Will Be Asked To Explain Wealth
Jan. 16
Money Laundering "The Russian Laundromat and Blackpool Football Club"

There appears to be quite a bit more going on here than just security concerns and big money.
 I'm talking the really important stuff—in some quarters—CYA as an art form.
As practiced in three world capitals.

More to come.

In the meantime, we didn't post Jan. 7's  James Jesus Angleton: "Documents Reveal the Complex Legacy of CIA Counterintelligence Chief and Godfather of Mass Surveillance' simply for the grins and giggles therein.