Investigate decision to allow warlord to sue British journalist

Jeremy Hunt | Imageplotter/Alamy Stock PhotoTo: Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer

We the undersigned ask that you urgently investigate the decision by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation to help Yevgeny Prigozhin circumvent the UK government’s own sanctions and launch a targeted legal attack on a British journalist.

Yevgeny Prigozhin is the warlord who founded Wagner, a private army that the US government last week announced it would designate a “transnational criminal organisation”. He is not the sort of person who should be receiving any help at all from the UK government.

We are deeply concerned that the UK Treasury issued special licences in 2021 to let the oligarch override sanctions and launch an aggressive legal case against journalist Eliot Higgins in the London courts. Of course, the case collapsed, but Higgins was left with estimated costs of £70,000. We think the following questions need to be investigated urgently:

  • Why did the government grant licences for a British law firm to work on the case, and approved key steps along the way;
  • Why did the government give permission for Prigozhin’s British lawyers to fly business class to St Petersburg so they could meet face-to-face and finalise their legal attack on Higgins;
  • Are there other instances of licences like this being granted?
Please investigate what has gone on here, because something has gone badly wrong.

1503 signatures

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