Reviews | How Putin weaponized London’s greed

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These are, to say the least, uncomfortable times to be a Russian oligarch.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, governments are going after the super-rich with close ties to Vladimir Putin, hitting them with sanctions, cutting off their access to offshore wealth, seizing their yachts and luxury villas and generally make it hard to be a filthy rich person.

But in the opinion piece above, Jonathan Pie, the fictional journalist played by comedian Tom Walker, claims that even though the United States and the European Union have harshly criticized the Russian oligarchs, Britain took a softer approach. This response, he argues, is the result of a dark symbiotic relationship the country has developed with ill-gotten Russian money.

For years, Russian wealth has flowed into Britain with few questions asked, helping fund political campaigns and boosting the luxury property market. Russian oligarchs have been so happy to take advantage of Britain’s laissez-faire regulatory climate to herd up their wealth and launder dirty money that the nation’s capital has earned the nickname Londongrad.

And that is why, according to Pie, the British government has been reluctant to step up pressure on the Russian elite. Tougher sanctions, he argues, would risk hurting Britain even more than they would Putin and his cronies.

“And that was Putin’s plan all along,” Pie claims. “For 20 years it has been slowly neutralizing us as a threat – using our own greed against us.”

Jonathan Pie’s videos were previously licensed to RT – formerly known as Russia Today – in the UK. Mr Walker has never worked for the network and has had no relationship with it since 2016.

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