Boris Johnson was warned by British intelligence about licensing his close friend Evgeny Lebedev two years ago.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, the head of M16 is concerned about the security of the Russian oligarch – who previously defended Vladimir Putin and expressed doubts about the murder of a Kremlin critic in London – a decade ago.
The leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, expressed concern over the allegations of the article and said he had written to the Chairman of the House of Commons Nominations Committee Lord Brew to raise concerns about the Prime Minister’s decision. allow Lord Lebedev to go public.
In a statement to the PA news agency, the Labor leader questioned Mr Johnson’s assessment of his nomination to the House of Commons “a man who has championed the worst conspiracy theories and defended Vladimir”. Putin”.
Sir Keir, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, accused the Prime Minister of disregarding the “serious reticence” of the security service towards Lord Lebedev.
He added: “My thoughts are especially with (widow of poisoned Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko) Marina Litvinenko, who knows Putin’s vices firsthand.
“Instead of uniting with her, the Prime Minister forced her to witness him peeking at someone who suggested her husband might have been murdered by MI6.”
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson denied meddling to overcome security concerns over derision for Lord Lebedev, telling reporters: “It’s simply incorrect… It’s fitting. with Putin’s agenda trying to portray this as a struggle between the West and Russia.”
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Lord Lebedev, who owns the British newspapers The Independent and Evening Standard, has also denied allegations that he is a “Russian agent” over a security service assessment statement that says the media mogul poses a risk. National security was withdrawn after Mr Johnson intervened.
In the wake of allegations that emerged last week that he had been identified as a national security risk before the Prime Minister withdrew the assessment, he admitted that his father had been a KGB officer but had “it’s along time”.
In a statement published on the Evening Standard website, Lord Lebedev said: “Currently, many people of Russian origin are under scrutiny, myself included.
Being Russian does not automatically make one an enemy of the state, and it is important that we do not fall into a state of fear of the Russians.Lord Lebedev
“I understand why this is inevitable when events of this magnitude happen and the world order as we know it in recent decades is suddenly disrupted.
“But I am not a security risk to this country, the country that I love. My father was a foreign intelligence officer of the KGB a long time ago, but I am not some sort of Russian agent.
“I may have a Russian name but that makes me no less a committed or proud British citizen than anyone else in our country.
“Being Russian does not automatically make a person an enemy of the state, and it is important that we do not fall into Russiaphobia, like any other phobia, bigotry or discrimination. ”
The Moscow-born media mogul has long maintained ties to the British establishment. In addition to the Prime Minister, Lord Lededev also has a long-standing friendship with A-list celebrities in the UK.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/m16-warned-pm-about-russian-oligarch-friend-evgeny-lebedev-two-years-ago-41440899.html M16 warned the Prime Minister about his Russian oligarch friend Evgeny Lebedev two years ago