British intelligence dropped warning to Boris Johnson to not award peerage to Russian friend Evgeny Lebedev 5 months ago

British intelligence dropped warning to Boris Johnson to not award peerage to Russian friend Evgeny Lebedev

The PM claimed the warning from intelligence was 'anti-Russianism'

British security services withdrew a warning to Boris Johnson saying that he should not award a peerage to a Russian businessman as it posed a national security risk, it has been reported.

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The Prime Minister decided to go ahead with the nomination of his friend and media mogul Evgeny Lebedev despite the concerns from intelligence.

Lebedev, 41, is the Moscow-born son of an ex-KGB officer and Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev, and currently owns the Evening Standard, The Independent, and the TV channel London Live.

Since November 19 2020, he has sat in the House of Lords as a crossbench life peer.

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Evgeny Lebedev owns the Evening Standard and The Independent, but British intelligence warned against him being given a peerage (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

According to the Times, the Prime Minister responded to the advice by claiming it was simply "anti-Russianism" from British intelligence.

In March 2020, the House of Lords Appointments Commission also voiced their concerns about granting Lebedev a lifetime seat in the Lords, writing to Boris Johnson about the decision.

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The revelation that the Prime Minister ignored this security warning from his own intelligence forces is the latest accusation of a close relationship between Russian oligarchs and the Tory Party.

The government is also coming under increasing pressure to try and address the presence of Russian oligarchs in London.

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On Monday, a bill is set to be fast-tracked through the House of Commons that will make it easier for the government to impose on oligarchs, the BBC reports.

Boris Johnson said foreigners trying to launder money in London and the UK would have "nowhere to hide."

But opposition parties say the government still needs to do more to tackle Putin's allies who use London to store large amounts of money.

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