In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-graft lawyer who had uncovered a nexus of political corruption and organized crime was beaten to death in custody. Since then, a former client, Bill Browder has pushed for anti-laundering legislation, and edges closer to doing so in the US. A grisly account by Browder at being contacted through text and voicemail by jeering FSB goons as they tortured Magnitsky is carried by the Daily Mail.
As part of parellel investigations into money laundering, in June of this year, several British investors, including the heir presumptive to the Viscountcy of Stuart of Findhorn, were named in legal complaint filed with the City of London Police and Serious Organized Crime Agency.
Separately – but, by no means unrelated – at the start of October, a vote went to the Council of Europe into abuses of State power in the Russian Federation, including the Magnitsky case. It fell just short of the required two thirds majority, mostly thanks to representatives from United Russia as well as a few former Soviet Republics or Warsaw Pact countries.
And eight of the 14 British representatives. It will come as a shock to no-one that this included LibDem MP, Mike Hancock. Less obviously, the others were Tories: five MPs (Brian Binley Northampton South; James Clappison in Hertsmere; Edward Leigh in Gainsborough; Ian Liddell-Grainger of Bridgwater and West Somerset Bob Walter for North Dorset) and two peers (Margaret Eaton and Diana Eccles).
I cannot tell how many of these representatives also are members of the Conservative Friends of Russia, a grouping founded in the same week as the Pussy Riot convictions. I do see that one of its honorary vice presidents is Conservative MP for Maldon, John Whittingdale who also is the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Commitee.
Hat-tip: Sackcloth & Ashes.