The UK could announce new sanctions on Russia

PM to announce sanctions on Russia as soon as Monday as Tory MPs bang the drum for ‘tough approach’ if the Kremlin is proved to be behind Salisbury poisoning of Sergei Skripal
Theresa May has called the attempted killing an ‘appalling and reckless crime’
Sanctions could include freezing oligarchs’ assets and cancelling their visas
Mrs May hinted Russian ambassador could be expelled if link to Russia is proved

Theresa May is to announce as soon as Monday what sanctions her government will impose on Russia after a former spy was poisoned in Salisbury, it is reported.

Calls have been growing for Britain to freeze the assets of UK-based oligarchs named by the US as being close to President Vladimir Putin.

Mrs May previously branded an attempt to kill a Russian double agent with a nerve agent an ‘appalling and reckless crime’, while Conservative MPs have called for tough measures against the Kremlin.

The Prime Minister said she would do ‘what is right’ if it was proven the Russian state was responsible for the attempt on Sergei Skripal’s life.

Theresa May is to announce on Monday what sanctions her government will impose on Russia after a former spy was poisoned in Salisbury

Five of the Russians named in US list as Putin’s cronies who have links to Britain
Alisher Usmanov

Born in what is now Uzbekistan, Mr Usmanov has interests in metals and mining as well as some of Russia’s biggest telecoms and internet firms.

He is also a part-owner of Arsenal FC in and president of the International Fencing Federation.

Last year, he won a libel case against Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny over a video regarding Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s alleged secret wealth.

Mr Usmanov was jailed for six years in 1980 on charges of fraud and ‘theft of socialist property’ in the Uzbek SSR.

But his conviction was quashed in 2000 when independent Uzbekistan’s supreme court said it was ‘unjust’.

Perhaps best known internationally as the owner of Chelsea FC, he made his fortune in oil and aluminium during the chaotic years that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Mr Abramovich has since embraced a glamorous lifestyle, with vast private yachts, art deals and his ownership of Chelsea, which he bought in 2003 and turned into title contenders in England.

His former business partner, Boris Berezovsky, accused Mr Abramovich of harassing him with ‘threats and intimidation’ in 2008 so he would sell shares at a lower price than their value.

Mr Berezovsky later brought a High Court suit against Mr Abramovich in London, seeking over £3billion in damages, but it was dismissed in 2012.

Mr Rotenberg is Mr Putin’s former judo partner, and hit the headlines in Britain last month after he lost a battle to stay anonymous following a court dispute in London with his ex-wife over money.

Mr Rotenberg and his ex-wife Natalia were locked in a legal dispute after he argued that he should not have to make a divorce payout to her because his assets within the EU were frozen.

The long-term acquaintance of Mr Putin cannot come to Britain, where his ex-wife now lives in Surrey, because of European Union sanctions.

Most of his money comes from Kremlin-awarded contracts given to his engineering company, including a current project to build a bridge between Russia and Crimea.

Four years ago EU ministers froze funds – and imposed a ‘ban on staying’ in EU territories – against people whose ‘actions’ threatened the independence of Ukraine.

Mr Deripaska, who is said to be a close ally of Mr Putin, raised an estimated £1billion through his energy firm EN+ after floating it on the London Stock Exchange last year.

But MI6 raised concerns over the flotation by the 49-year-old father-of-two who has links to military hardware production.

In 2008, Mr Deripaska was listed by Forbes as the ninth richest man in the world, worth about $28billion.

But when the financial crisis hit he almost went bankrupt, before bouncing back with the help of the Kremlin, according to some reports.

He hit the headlines in 2017 when he was found to have ties with Paul Manfort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.

And last year David Cameron’s former energy minister Greg Barker was appointed chairman of EN+, with critics saying the move was further worrying evidence of the ‘revolving door’ between Whitehall and the City.

Lord Mandelson is a good friend of Mr Deripaska, who hosted him on his super-yacht, where the pair holidayed alongside Nat Rothschild, then shadow chancellor George Osborne and Tory fundraiser Andrew Feldman in 2008.

Vladimir Potanin, one of Moscow’s most prominent tycoons, is known in the Britain press for his former marriage to Natalia Potanina.

The couple divorced in 2014 after a 31 year marriage, and she was denied £2.9billion claim by a Russian court because she made it too late.

But she launched a separate legal battle for a world-record £11.7billion against him and there is speculation that she will end up moving her claim to London, where she has a home.

Mr Potanin has previously told courts that he is no longer a billionaire, and is down to his last millions, living on a salary of £373,000 a month.

Meanwhile, Oleg Deripaska is currently taking Roman Abramovich to court in London to prevent the latter from selling his stake in mining firm Norilsk Nickel to rival Mr Potanin.

Mr Potanin, who is chief excutive of Norilsk Nickel, is being represented by former attorney general Lord Goldsmith, who is said to have charged other Russian billionaires nearly £1,000 an hour.

Sanctions could also include cancelling the oligarchs’ visas and expelling Russian diplomats, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood said: ‘We mustn’t get ahead of ourselves but we must have a robust response and it’s something that we’ll be discussing with our Nato partners and with the forthcoming summit in Brussels in July.

He added: ‘Some big questions arise as to how do you stand up to a clandestine and sinister attack deliberately done to play havoc in our society.’

He said that with Russia we are ‘seeing a nation interfere with elections, interfere in the Middle East and erode the international rules-based order that has provided relative peace in Europe for the last few decades’.

Mr Ellwood said there had been talk about how the Salisbury incident will impact on the World Cup, adding: ‘Again I stress we have to take this one step at a time. But I’m sure all options will be considered.’

Tory MP Bob Seely said: ‘We need to work with others, like the US, Canada and the Baltic states, to form an international commission, like we had during the Cold War.

‘On top of that, the City of London and New York need to work together on a sanctions list so the people on that list know their assets can be seized.’

Mrs May hinted at support for expelling the Russian ambassador if the case was proven.

She also said her thoughts were with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the police officer hospitalised after he responded to the incident in Salisbury city centre.

Former Labour minister Ian Austin told MailOnline: ‘I think this is a test for Britain, and it is a test as to whether we are going to stand up for our values. Are we going to be prepared to let corrupt, stolen Russian money come to London?

‘Putin is a gangster and a thug – he is an old style KGB gangster. It’s the Russian people who are the victims here.’

Mr Austin, a minister in Gordon Brown’s government, said: ‘We have got to take a much tougher approach. There is a lot of corrupt money being invested in London.

‘People who have stolen millions and even billions of pounds from the Russian people are using the UK to buy property and educate their children, and I think that is not acceptable.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited Salisbury on Friday as she spoke to police and inspected the scene where investigations are continuing.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said the Government was ready to respond with ‘the full force of the United Kingdom’s resources’ once they had established who was responsible for the attack.

‘Once we have established the facts and the attribution, the Government and law enforcement and others will respond appropriately as a country such of the United Kingdom should,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘We will respond with the full force of the United Kingdom’s resources if that is the appropriate and proportionate thing to do.

‘If we are to take solid steps in response to whoever has done this, we are going to make sure that we do it in a considered (way) – but we also do it in an effective way and in a way that makes sure that Britain and British citizens and their interests are safe as a result of that response.’

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has already warned that Russia will face ‘robust’ consequences if it is found to be behind the attack on Sunday afternoon.

The British authorities could take their lead from the Trump Administration.

In January, the US Treasury published a list of Mr Putin’s cronies as part of a sanctions law designed to punish Russia for interfering in the US election.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd warned Russia will face ‘robust’ consequences if it is found to be behind the nerve agent attack.

Foreign Office officials are thought to be going through a list of Russian diplomats to identify potential candidates for expulsion.

The Home Secretary declined to comment on possible Russian involvement in what she described as an ‘outrageous crime’.

But she revealed ministers were already working on reprisals if the link to Moscow is proved, saying: ‘There will come a time for attribution, and there will be further consequences to follow.’

She added: ‘The use of a nerve agent on UK soil is a brazen and reckless act. This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way. People are right to want to know who to hold to account.

Former Tory minister Sir Edward Leigh said the UK had to show it was willing to stand up to Moscow, adding: ‘The circumstantial evidence against Russia is strong.

‘Who else would have the motive and the means? Those of us who seek to understand Russia know that the only way to preserve peace is through strength.

‘If Russia is behind this, it is a brazen act of war and humiliates our country.’


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