Politics

Putin’s former ‘protege’ got UK visa after now-sanctioned Russian oligarch fixed up job


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Vladimir Chernukhin, President Putin’s former finance minister, claimed in a court docket case that he obtained a UK work visa – and ultimately British citizenship – as a result of oligarch Oleg Deripaska organized a job for him on this nation

Vladimir Chernukhin (L) assembly with Vladimir Putin in 2002

Vladimir Putin’s former ‘protege’ was handed a UK visa after a now-sanctioned Russian oligarch fastened him up with a job.

Priti Patel has defended stringent checks on Ukrainian refugees, claiming Putin could possibly be sending Russian brokers to the UK with organic weapons, posing as ladies and kids fleeing the battle.

However in 2004 the House Workplace granted Vladimir Chernukhin, Mr Putin’s former finance minister, a piece visa – and ultimately British citizenship – as a result of oligarch Oleg Deripaska organized a job for him on this nation, in response to claims made by Mr Chernukhin in court docket.

Mr Chernukhin’s spouse, Lubov, has since turn out to be the most important feminine political donor in UK historical past, stuffing Tory coffers to the tune of just about £2m.

Final week it emerged she was at a Tory fundraising dinner, additionally attended by Boris Johnson, on the night time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Financier Nat Rothschild was stated to have created a £275,000-a-year job for Mr Chernukhin so he might qualify for a working visa.

Giving proof within the Excessive Courtroom in 2018, Mr Chernukhin stated he labored with one other worker of Mr Rothschild’s agency on a liquid pure fuel undertaking in New York.







Vladimir Putin with Oleg Deripaska (R)
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REUTERS)

A spokesperson for Mr Chernukhin stated this was his job till he secured depart to stay.

There’s no suggestion of wrongdoing or breach of immigration guidelines on the a part of Mr Rothschild in making a job for Mr Chernukin.

The admissions had been made throughout a months-long authorized battle between Mr Chernukhin and his former enterprise accomplice, the oligarch Oleg Derpiaska – whom Mr Chernukhin stated had organized the job for him.

Mr Deripaska has been positioned on the record of Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK authorities within the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.

Final month, Mr Rothschild – a former enterprise accomplice of Mr Deripaska – tweeted to Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “Sanction all Russian big businessmen NOW.”

Mr Chernukhin’s spouse, Lubov, has turn out to be the most important feminine political donor in British historical past, stuffing Tory coffers to the tune of just about £2m.

She has paid for entry to the best ranges of presidency, together with cosy dinners with then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, and a ‘women’ night time out’ with then-Prime Minister Theresa Could and now-International Secretary Liz Truss.

And he or she efficiently bid £160,000 for a tennis match with Boris Johnson and Tory co-chair Ben Elliot.

Mrs Chernukhin is a British citizen, is entitled to make political donations and secured her UK passport individually from Mr Chernukhin.

There’s no suggestion that Mrs Chernukhin’s donations are funded by Mr Chernukhin.

There’s no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mr Chernukhin.

In court docket, Mr Chernukhin stated his “sudden” transfer to Britain was prompted by a colleague being arrested on corruption prices.

He stated he believed the fees had been politically motivated, and an try by the KGB to get to him.

However in contrast to others fleeing the nation after ‘falling out’ with Putin, Mr Chernukhin got here to the UK with tens of millions in money and belongings.

The court docket heard he had “at least $300 million” in his account when he arrived within the UK.

And he nonetheless held tens of millions of kilos price of enterprise and property pursuits in Moscow till a minimum of 2017.

Mr Chernukhin began his profession as a civil servant in the course of the soviet period, earlier than securing a prime position on the Russian state owned financial institution Vnesheconombank.

After President Putin got here to energy, Mr Chernukhin was appointed deputy finance minister – and reportedly earned the nickname “Putin’s Protege.”

He was fired from this position in 2004, and left Russia for the UK.

“Legally I make an application for work permit, and I was advised that I have to collect 75 points,” he advised the court docket. “I collected 120 points, and I was granted working visa in the UK.”

However he defined he wanted to seek out an employer with a view to qualify for a working visa.

He stated: “Mr Deripaska, with his kindness, he ask Nathaniel Rothschild to help me with that.

“Because you have to understand that my escape from Russia was not planned and prepared.” Requested in court docket if he did any work for Mr Rothschild, Mr Chernukhin stated: “I did not work for Mr Rothschild, but I was sitting in his office in [Mr Rothschild’s company] JNR in St James Place 4.

“I was communicated with…the chairman of JNR, he was American, and we were working…they have at that time the project to build [a liquid natural gas factory]. They get a planning consent to build this gas factory…in the middle of New York.”

And he stated he was “extremely busy” creating his personal “real estate empire” on the time.

Talking with assistance from an interpreter, Mr Chernukhin added: “At first you have to obtain points. If you obtain enough points, you can get working visa.

“And only after some years spent here, after four years you can convert your visa to leave to remain.”

Mr Deripaska’s lawyer, Justin Fenwick QC, requested him: “That was the reason that you needed to be employed by Mr Rothschild, wasn’t it?”

Mr Chernukhin replied: “Exactly. Just for visa.”

Mr Rothschild stated: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is utterly deplorable and I am unequivocal in my complete and total condemnation for the actions of Putin’s regime.

“Sanctioning Russia in the strongest terms and taking every step available to support the Ukrainian people should now be the West’s sole focus in order to bring about as swift a resolution to the war as possible.

“There must be peace in Ukraine.”

A House Workplace spokesperson stated: “We do not comment on individual cases.”

A Conservative Get together supply stated whereas we couldn’t touch upon the immigration system run by a Labour authorities 17 years in the past, they famous Mr Chernukhin was fleeing Russia due to his assist for a number one critic of Putin on the time.

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