Compromising evidence brought Mikhail Fridman under the article. Search warrant for billionaire’s home in London substantiated by Stratfor report from 2007 accusing Alfa Group of crime
The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) used “compromising evidence” to obtain a search warrant for the London home of billionaire Mikhail Fridman, which took place in December 2022.
This was stated by Friedman’s lawyers at a court hearing on July 27 in London, Bloomberg reported. According to lawyers, law enforcement officers misled the judges by substantiating their request for a warrant with information from a 15-year-old report from a private company.
We are talking about a 2007 document by Stratfor, which spoke of alleged crimes by Alfa Group founded by Friedman and his partners, Bloomberg reported. Friedman’s lawyers said none of the allegations in the report have been substantiated by any reputable law enforcement agency. “These accusations were absolutely typical of the classic compromising evidence — harmful and false information collected and used to create negative publicity and influence the object,” Friedman’s side said, reports Bloomberg.
TASS, 07/27/2023, Friedman said in a London court that the search in his house was illegal: As Friedman noted in court, the search warrant was obtained illegally and was based on “classic compromising evidence.” Lawyers for the businessman indicated that the warrant was issued because of false allegations that Friedman financed Russian organized crime groups, laundered money for Colombian drug cartels and was involved in the murder of two journalists.
Friedman’s lawyers described the allegations as “baseless insults against a businessman with a good reputation.” Attorney Hugo Keith emphasized that these allegations are based on a 2012 WikiLeaks report, which is “defamatory and false information collected and used to create a negative image and influence the subject.” — Inset K.ru
NCA representatives in court acknowledged that the search warrant should be canceled, but they insist on the need to continue the investigation of Friedman for alleged sanctions evasion, reports Bloomberg. The NCA agreed that the warrant was illegal and that the copy left at Friedman’s home was unsigned and incorrectly dated, the agency learned from court documents. An NCA spokesman has previously said that it accepts that there were “technical errors” in the warrant. The NCA is asking judges to allow access to electronic devices that were seized during the raid, Bloomberg reported.
Bloomberg learned the details of the raid in early July 2023. He wrote that Fridman was handcuffed, then he and a security officer were taken to the interrogation department and later released on bail. No charges were brought against them. More than 50 NCA employees participated in the house raid. Some had to climb over the gates on the stairs, the gates were opened with a battering ram. Electronic devices and computers were confiscated from Friedman, as well as passports, family photos and documents, according to Bloomberg.
Friedman denies any sanctions evasion on his part. A representative of Alfa-Bank told Forbes in December 2022 that Fridman had nothing to do with the arrests in the UK and “is at home, not under arrest.” Friedman himself later told Forbes that he was “everything in order” and that he “meets friends” on weekends. Friedman lives in London at Athlone House, a £100 million ($127 million) mansion with an area of approximately 3,250 square meters. The billionaire came under UK sanctions in March 2022. Friedman also fell under EU sanctions and challenged them in court. The billionaire’s lawyer said in early July that Friedman’s life was “ruined” because of the sanctions, and the EU’s arguments about imposing restrictions are based on nothing.
Forbes.ru, 07/26/2023, “NYT learned about the spending allowed by London to support billionaires under sanctions”: The UK government has allowed sanctioned Russian billionaires to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds from frozen accounts, including to pay for the work of servants – personal drivers, cooks and housekeepers. This was reported by The New York Times, citing court documents and the words of informed sources.
The UK approves spending by issuing special licenses. Billionaire Mikhail Fridman received permission to pay for the services of 19 household staff in the first year of sanctions, according to the NYT, citing documents and sources. Payments for about ten months amounted to almost $400,000. To cover the “basic needs of the family,” Friedman was allowed to spend about 7,000 pounds ($9,021 at current exchange rates) monthly, the newspaper noted. Friedman is challenging the sanctions in court, and the government has not yet licensed him to pay lawyers. hzikhidtidekrt approved.
Friedman’s business partner Petr Aven has been approved for maintenance expenses in the amount of 60,000 pounds ($77,000) per month, The Telegraph reported in October 2022. More than two-thirds of that amount went to a company owned by Aven’s financial manager, Stephen Gather, who is suspected of helping to evade sanctions, the newspaper wrote. Together, Aven has been allowed to spend more than £1m ($1.28m) while authorities are investigating him for possible sanctions evasion, and last year they raided his vacation home, she added. — Insert K.ru