Behind Johnson’s security breach lies a story that’s all about power and exploitation
Boris Johnson has admitted that on 28 April 2018 he met with former KGB (Russian spy agency) officer Alexander Lebedev. It was at an Italian villa owned by Alexander’s son Evgeny Lebedev. Johnson was foreign secretary at the time. Controversially, he “dumped” his Met police protection officers prior to flying out to the meeting. Similar was the case with another meeting there in 2016.
Johnson reportedly met several times with Lebedev senior when mayor of London. Those meetings have been known about for some three years, as revealed by OpenDemocracy and the Guardian.
The political context to the meetings saw the lead up to the June 2016 EU referendum and the aftermath when Brexit policy was formulated. The catastrophic consequences of the referendum result are still being realised today.
With regard to Johnson’s April 2018 meeting with the Lebedevs, according to investigative journalist John Sweeney it and other meetings were nothing less than sex parties:
At his palazzo, there’s a fancy-dress box and guests have to pick what they are going to wear blind which is why one of very famous party-goer ended up a gimp in a gimp suit. A butt-plug with a Vladimir Putin face on it has been spotted. Beautiful men and women are at hand, at beck and call. Katie Price, Jim Cusick reported, hit the champagne a little too heavily and got her tits out for then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. There is, of course, no suggestion that Johnson wore the gimp suit or, indeed, the Vladimir Putin butt-plug and no suggestion whatsoever that he wore both at the same time.
A “former MI6 officer” – probably Christopher Steele, going by his previous statements – told Sweeney:
If Boris goes to the Lebedevs’ palazzo in Italy and shags someone, there’s got to be a sporting chance that someone’s filming it… Imagine if Putin was knocking off a woman in a place in Moscow owned by a British businessman, then, in my old job, I would be on to that immediately, I would be all over it like a bad rash.
Boris Johnson is compromised. No one believes he went to the palazzo just to sip orange juice.
Calls for inquiry
Following Johnson’s admission to meetings with Alexander Lebedev, the matter was raised in parliament.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper stated that Johnson went straight to the April 2018 party in Italy from a NATO meeting on Russia. She added how in May 2022 the Canadian government had sanctioned Lebedev senior for having “directly enabled Vladimir Putin’s senseless war in Ukraine and bear responsibility for the pain and suffering of the people of Ukraine”.
Labour MP Holly Lynch asked questions about Johnson’s meetings with Alexander Lebedev, but was “fobbed off”:
I asked the Government 7 times if Boris Johnson met with Alexander Lebedev. 4 times at the despatch box, I was fobbed off by;
– Home Secretary
– Security Minister x 2
– Minister for the Cabinet Office pic.twitter.com/z50yFTKks4
— Holly Lynch MP (@HollyLynch5) July 17, 2022
It doesn’t stop at Johnson either. Because there are a number of examples of Russia-linked oligarchs’ possible influence on Tory politicians.
In December 2020, The Canary published details of leaked testimony provided in 2016 to the Home Affairs Select Committee. It showed that members of parliament and the upper chamber hired firms to advise oligarchs on how to avoid scrutiny for alleged money laundering.
Similar testimony was provided to the Intelligence & Security Committee (ISC) in 2018. The ISC’s Russia Report remained unpublished until July 2020 on orders from Johnson. But it was noticeable for what it left out. For example, it only briefly mentioned the money laundering or the donations from oligarchs to UK politicians.
Scottish National Party MP and ISC member Stewart Hosie claimed the Conservative government “actively avoided looking for evidence” that Russia interfered in the EU referendum:
"The government have actively avoided looking for evidence Russia interfered."
The Intelligence Committee's Stewart Hosie says the government didn't investigate Russian interference in Brexit vote and no-one wanted to touch this "with a ten-foot pole".
— Simon Gosden. Esq. #fbpe 3.5% 🇪🇺🐟🇬🇧🏴☠️🦠💙 (@g_gosden) July 18, 2022
More Tories compromised
So it’s not just Johnson who’s compromised via connections with Russia-linked oligarchs.
In October 2020, The Canary referred to leaked files that showed Russian oligarch and Putin ally Suleyman Kerimov had donated millions of pounds to major Tory donor Lubov Chernukhin’s husband. Chernukhin is a banker and the wife of Putin’s former deputy finance minister.
The Canary further reported that Alexander Temerko, the former chief of a Russian arms company, made 69 donations to Tory MPs and Conservative Party central office. The total he donated from February 2012 to March 2019 came to nearly £700k. Temerko was also linked to a 2018 ‘coup’ within the Tory party that sought to oust then-prime minister Theresa May. The attempt was reportedly led by members of the European Research Group, which promoted a hard, no-deal Brexit.
Moreover, Alexander Knaster, a former CEO of Russia’s Alfa Bank, made eight donations mostly to Conservative Party central office, totalling £455k. And Lev Mikheev, who allegedly “made his money managing the funds of wealthy Putin allies”, made 15 donations to the Conservative Party totalling £212k.
Poverty and chaos
The relationship between Johnson and the Lebedevs has been described as far worse a scandal than the “sex, lies and spies” of the Profumo affair. That eventually saw the collapse of the Macmillan-led Conservative government.
Johnson’s resignation was ostensibly caused by inaction regarding the sexual misconduct of a Tory MP. In reality, he was brought down by a power struggle – the results of which will be of nil benefit to the British people apart from maybe the well off.
Meanwhile, Johnson and his cronies have succeeded in ensuring the UK is left rife with poverty and facing an ever-increasing Brexit-related chaos.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons cropped 770×403 pixels
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