Salisbury Novichok attacks ‘will happen again’ as Putin ‘unafraid’ of Britain

Salisbury Novichok attacks "will happen again" as Russia is "unafraid" of pushover Britain, a prominent campaigner has claimed.

Russian political activist Roman Borisovich says Vladmir Putin and his cronies have been emboldened by the UK's response to the 2018 attack.

The banker turned anti-corruption campaigner spoke after the UK refused to comment on controversial Russian oligarch Georgy Bedzhamov’s citizenship application.

Mr Bedzhamov is accused of collapsing a Russian bank after a £2.5bn hole was found in its balance sheet.

Labour peer Lord Judd asked “what assessment they have made of the fraud and corruption charges against Georgy Bedzhamov in the context of his application for British citizenship”.

But the government said it would not comment on individual cases this week.

This prompted Mr Borisovich to claim that corrupt Russians still view the UK as somewhere they can launder dirty money without fear of repercussions.

He added the Kremlin is also unafraid of carrying out more attacks on UK soil.

He said: “Salisbury Novichok attacks will happen again. It is happening now in the cyber world and will happen in the real world too.

“Russia does not fear sanctions, not the ones they have seen so far.

“The oil price has stabilised and they can sell their weapons worldwide too.

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“The message for Putin and his cronies is very encouraging – you can poison and radiate them all you want.

“At best they will send home 22 losers from the embassy.”

The attack by two Russian GRU agents in the Wiltshire city in March 2018 prompted international condemnation and led to the death of Dawn Sturgess months later when she found a perfume bottle used to bring the nerve agent into the country.

But Mr Borisovich claimed that the only Russian oligarch targeted since has been Chelsea’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

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He added: “They (corrupt Russians) still view it as a place where they can launder their money and reputation and buy protection all the way to the ermine robes.

“And it is not wrong – apart from the warning shot for Abramovich, not a single Russian oligarch has been inconvenienced in any way so far.”

Bedzhamov and his sister Larisa Markus are alleged to have defrauded Russian retail bank Vneshprombank out of £2.5bn.

Ms Markus was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2017 after admitting to the theft of £1.4bn.

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Last December a mobile billboard to drive outside Harrods in Knightsbridge featuring a photograph of Ms Markus on the left and Mr Bedzhamov on the right.

It read: "Reward for information.”

The High Court in London reportedly granted a £1.34bn freezing order on his assets last April.

Mr Bedzhamov is said to have denied the criminal charges against him in Russia.

He reportedly still lives in homes in both London and Monaco.

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