RUSSIAN LUXURY SPENDING AND LOBBYING

A Russian lawyer who has been accused of being the mastermind of a $230 million tax fraud and threatening a whistleblower hired a London luxury lifestyle concierage company owned by the nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall and Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney General, at £960 per hour, according to leaked documents.

The lawyer, Andrey Pavlov, is alleged by Bill Browder, the US financier, to have played the pivotal role in the fraud which involved the forging of documents to create fake losses and hence a fraudulent tax rebate, according to court documents.  The money was allegedly stolen from taxes paid by Browder’s company, Hermitage Capital.

When Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, uncovered the fraud he was tortured and died in a Moscow jail.  And another of his lawyers, Alexander Perepilichny, died in suspicious circumstances in Surrey whereby police have found poison in his blood.  The coroner at the inquest stated that Pavlov was “a candidate” for the murder because of threats he had made against the whistleblower. And his case is one of the 14 suspicious deaths of Russians living in the UK which is currently being re-investigated by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police in the light of the attempted murder of the Russian spy in Salisbury.

Browder testified to the UK House of Commons Home Affairs Select committee that part of the proceeds of the tax fraud have been laundered through London via UK-registered companies. But when he presented detailed evidence and documents to the committee, the MPs declined to publish the material.

Now new documents show that Pavlov hired Quinessentially, the UK lifestyle management company owned by Ben Elliot, the nephew of Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Lord Goldsmith as his lawyer.

Pavlov was given a “Dedicated Lifestyle Manager” and leaked emails reveal a unique insight into how wealthy Russians spend their money in London.  During one visit Pavlov:

  • Rented a flat at Grosvenor House Apartments on Park Lane for $7000 per week
  • Hired a yacht in the Pacific
  • Rented a Porsche for $600 but then changed his mind and opted for a Range Rover.  which was then delivered to him at The Peninsula, Beverly Hills,
  • Special shopping trips to Hermes in Paris and London.
  • Stayed at a skiing trip at Mont Cervin Palace, Zermatt for 9000 Euros
  • Used Quinessentially to find the most exclusive English private school for his children

The leaked documents also show the extent to which Pavlov hired British Establishment figures to discourage the UK government from investigating the fraud.  They include Lord Goldsmith, QC, who was Attorney General for six years during Tony Blair’s premiership and notorious for providing a controversial legal opinion which “authorised” the Iraq war in 2003.

Pavlov also retained CTF Communications, the lobbying firm managed by Lynton Crosby, the powerful advisor who has worked for David Cameron and Boris Johnson, and the PR firm FTI Consulting, which used to be owned by former Labour Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown.

The Serious Fraud Office and UK law enforcement authorities have declined to investigate the fraud and money laundering allegations of the Magnitsky case.  This is in contrast to criminal investigations in eleven other countries which resulted $40 million in assets being frozen.  In the US the Magnitsky Act has resulted in the assets of the Russians implicated in the tax fraud being frozen.

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