THE LEX COLUMN: Not all Russians carry novichok
A logic that foreigners should be vetted because they might be sanctioned by the US does not wash
A century ago Brits feared invasion by Russians with snow on their boots. They now fear Russians with novichok nerve agent in their pockets, with rather greater cause. As a consequence, the UK government may legislate to make foreign listings easier to block. But the implication that London’s international financial centre is a national security threat is wrong. It needs challenging.
Russian agents poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018. That triggered US treasury sanctions against some Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin. One of them, Oleg Deripaska, listed his commodities group, EN+, in London in 2017, raising £1.2bn. He still owns a large stake, but does not control the company.