News / Europe

Mysterious Death in Britain Linked to Russian Scandal

Granville Road on the St. George's Hill private estate, where Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy collapsed Nov.10, is seen near Weybridge in Surrey, Nov. 28, 2012.
Granville Road on the St. George's Hill private estate, where Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichnyy collapsed Nov.10, is seen near Weybridge in Surrey, Nov. 28, 2012.
Al Pessin
Police in southern Britain are investigating the mysterious death of Russian businessman Alexander Perepilichny, who had been providing information to Swiss investigators about alleged fraud by Russian executives and officials.

Perepilichny, 44, was found dead outside his luxury home outside London on November 10, but the case was only reported on Wednesday, when officials said the results of a post-mortem examination were inconclusive.

This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.
x
This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.
This Nov. 30, 2009 photo shows a portrait of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison.
Perepilichny had fled to Britain three years ago, around the time he provided Swiss prosecutors with documents that activists say prove Russian corruption and money-laundering by Russian criminal gangs. He also reportedly provided information related to the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who worked to expose corruption and died in a Russian prison three years ago.

According to Russia's official Human Rights Council, Magnitsky was probably beaten to death. 

There have also been several other mysterious deaths of Russians in Britain with possible links to corruption and organized crime.

Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.
x
Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.
Alexander Litvinenko pictured in 2002.
​In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian security service officer who later became a critic of the Kremlin, died in London. British authorities accused two former Russian security service agents of poisoning him with a radioactive substance. Both men deny it, and Russia has refused to extradite them.

No one yet knows whether Perepilichny was murdered, but the ongoing investigation is renewing focus on corrupt practices by Russian officials, which the former British ambassador to Russia, Andrew Wood, said are endemic.

"Because at the top, people don't obey the law, that gives license to everybody else not to obey the law and to grab what they can while they can," Wood said. "That doesn't mean everybody does it. It just means it is inherent in the system."

And the former ambassador said that makes the corruption very difficult to root out.

The director of the Russia Institute at London's King's College, Sam Greene, has a slightly different view. He said many people in Russia are not happy with the situation, and the leaders might like to reduce it, if only to ease public anger. But he said officials' ability to drain cash from the bureaucratic system does serve the leadership's interests by fostering the loyalty of corrupt officials, particularly in distant parts of the country.

"The challenge for the leadership in Russia is to solve corruption in a way that allows the leadership to continue governing the way it wants to govern, which is not necessarily well served by instituting channels of accountability and public oversight," he said.

Cases like the deaths of Perepilichny and Magnitsky create friction with the West, added Greene. That is reflected in anti-Western rhetoric by Russian leaders and a move in the U.S. Congress to freeze the bank accounts of 60 Russian officials believed to have been involved in the Magnitsky case.

Former Ambassador Wood said the corruption and apparently related deaths also fuel tensions between Russia and the West in another way.

"I think there is a link in that a great many Russians, I would think the majority of Russians, are ashamed of it," he said. "They think this is wrong. And therefore, it's only natural for people in those sorts of circumstances actually to look for somebody else to blame."

Wood said that helps make many Russians receptive to the anti-Western rhetoric by their leaders.

Police in the English county of Surrey will conduct a second post-mortem on Perepilichny's body, along with toxicology tests, to try to determine whether he was murdered. If he was, they will turn to the question of why.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid