It is regrettable to see how, literally in front of London, from a relatively calm and morally comfortable European city (one might even say, the financial capital of the world) becomes something resembling Beirut — by the atmosphere of tension hanging in the air. The hysteria began with a historic vote for the “exit” of Scotland, then sharply aggravated by the unexpected and incomprehensible “Brekzit”, and now, thanks to the hysteria around the whole of Russia, widely spread by the conservative government, has become a public “infectious schizophrenia”. But apart from the atmosphere “Putin is going with Picadilly special forces,” there are still many factors affecting modern London - a completely separate state from Britain and the whole world with its own laws, rules and customs.
From Berezovsky to Skrypal: death in Britain
In social networks, the question is often repeated: “Why do you constantly kill someone in London? Different dark personalities flee from Mother Russia to the United States, Israel and Europe, and indeed they are generously scattered around the world, and they explode and poison only in the capital of Albion. Maybe it's all because of the British weather? Spleen, depression, gin, coke, fog, dark bank of the Thames ... "
In fact, in blessed Britain there are just murders and murders with a capital letter. However, England has always been famous for them, because it was not for nothing that Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes and a couple of dozen other, less well-known characters of classic British detectives lived and worked here.
London is an absolutely unique political, cultural and legal entity. Nowhere have so many “come-gone” and nowhere have so many “come-together”. Walking through the restaurants and pubs in the center, you can make a posh catalog of former deputies, officials, bankers, "solved" just petty fraudsters who arrived in the country in the hope that Her Majesty would shelter them and not give up the bloody regime for reproach. What will do without the "Sailors", Lefortova and "Crosses". This is a criminal-political forced emigration is multi-layered: the Berezovsky stratum, the former Yukos stratum, the Nazarbayev refugees, and so on. If you build a scheme, you get a cut of the most powerful oak of the "evolution of the regime." Those who escaped straight from under the criminal case are mixed in it (in the evening they flew away - they came in the morning), and those who wait for troubled times, and those who flew away “to undergo treatment just in case” and those who simply “vapar stupid Briton "story of the bloody torture in the FSB, to get the coveted status. Maybe there are more experienced emigration, but there is absolutely nowhere more than a general assembly of people from the CIS, and indeed, from around the world, with different stories. Do not believe it - just take a walk through the famous London pubs and take a closer look.
Why kill? Everything is very simple: when a large number of people with very dubious life stories and not very clean money gather in one place, there is always someone who can (or should) be “ordered”. Political opponents (very rarely), creditors, debtors, real criminals, offended spouses. Finally massively dying just from depression and drugs. Moreover, the scheme “ordered a lender, and blamed Putin“ should now work at 300%. By the way, the modern history of the mysterious deaths in Britain began with the almost forgotten fall of a helicopter by the famous lawyer Stephen Curtis at the very beginning of zero. Needless to say, according to absolutely public information, old Stephen worked for both Boris Berezovsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The investigations did not reveal any interesting “ends”, but it was clear to everyone that helicopters with people like Curtis did not fall so easily. And Litvinenko, Perepelichniy, Patarkatsishvili, Boris Abramych himself, and so on, went through the list. And everywhere - complete "wood grouses". Which, of course, is now additionally rechecked at the expense of taxpayers for Putin’s participation.
But in London they killed, they kill and will kill. The higher the political instability - the more murder.
Return of the Jack-Rippers
There is the so-called Crime Index, which evaluates the criminality of individual cities. According to him, at the moment the fourth city in the midst of rampant crime in Europe is Birmingham, and the sixteenth is London. Novosibirsk, the most criminal city in Russia, nervously smokes in the 21st place, and Moscow in the 34th. It is worth thinking about - the criminal situation in Moscow is twice as good as in London.
Over the past few years, police in Britain have been cut, according to The Independent, by 21,500 people - by almost 20%. And this is taking into account the fact that the British police in the past did not differ in special numbers. At the same time, crime has increased by 14%. And these are just official numbers. Recently, my friends were drawn into a fight three minutes from Piccadilly. When they tried to call the police over the phone, they were told: “But they didn’t beat you much, just pass by”.
It seems abnormal that, amid a reduction in the number of police and a general rampant crime, people have the impression that any mysterious crime “with a tinge” can be attributed to Putin from his GRU. Today they tried to poison Sickle, tomorrow Putin may order the murder of a dozen old women or an elephant in the London Zoo. And they will believe this - they will say that Putin "intentionally creates an atmosphere of general terror." Increasingly, various “opposition leaders in emigration” declare that they are living in constant fear that Putin will approach the murderers from the GRU. Almost no one believes this, but journalists readily write: “Our dear and beloved London is shaking in the atmosphere of Putin’s terror.” No one cares about real crime anymore: even the mayor began to walk with security — although in his time Boris Johnson rode freely on a bicycle and the subway.
Against the background of a general decline of law and order, the British government decides that “low morale” reigns in the judicial system. In this regard, the Prime Minister proposes to increase the salaries of judges immediately by 32% in order to raise this spirit. High-ranking judges can raise the annual salary by almost € 60,000 from € 181,000 to € 240,000. But because of this, very expensive British justice becomes very expensive. And this is against the background of the constantly continuing budget cuts for free legal assistance to those in need: since 2010, it has shrunk by almost a billion pounds, and this process is almost uninterrupted and will not be stopped.
Criminal barristers (the second after solicitors and the more privileged category of lawyers in the UK - Forbes) frankly declare that all criminal justice in Britain, starting from the courts and the police and ending with prisons, is extremely underfunded and practically flies to Tartar. The barristers had already been on strike several times, and many trials of serious criminals simply “froze”, and then collapsed. The average Russian will consider this all to be the whims of the British, who are snickering from their best justice, and will be wrong: British justice is very, very expensive, and few people can afford to pay good lawyers from their own pockets. You get used to good quickly, but it is almost impossible to break the habit.
Over the past ten years, Britain has practically evolved from a country of almost exemplary law and order and a reference law enforcement system into an ordinary European country with many chronic diseases associated with underfunding. Until complete chaos, of course, still far away, but there is definitely nothing to be proud of. The times of Holmes and Watson securely sunk into the gloomy Thames
Unidentified Russian wealth
The main trend of the British domestic policy of the last two years is the search for “dirty” Russian money imported into the country over the past twenty years by Putin’s “friends” as well as friends of friends. In order to save the British economy and morality, the notorious Criminal Finance Act was invented and passed, which generated a new British weapon against “dirty” money - UWO (Unexplained Wealth Order), court orders on disclosing sources of wealth. Many endowed him with practically mystical power - it was thought that from him, like demons from the “namolennoy” icon, they would flee from Britain, abandoning illegally acquired assets, oligarchs close to the Kremlin. But it did not happen.
The same host, The Independent, writes that at the beginning of August, only three such orders were issued, and one at that time was disputed in court. Just the other day, the High Court considered the validity of issuing such an order in respect of Zamira Khadzhiyeva, the wife of the former head of the International Bank of Azerbaijan, who spent about £ 16 million in Harrods department store alone, and also acquired more than £ 20 million in real estate. unimaginable nonsense. For example, that the court allegedly approved the freezing and confiscation of assets, and this soon threatens all Russian oligarchs. Using this example, I would like to once again explain what UWO is and how it works:
First, the court has so far considered only and exclusively the legality of issuing an order - the legality and validity of a request for the origin of assets. I decided that yes, the National Criminal Agency (NAC, National Crime Agency) could have reasonable and sufficient suspicions (very expensive real estate and huge expenses for luxury plus an investment visa that did not correlate with official sources of income) in order to send a request. But this does not mean that something has been taken away or has the right to take it away. Ms. Khadzhiyeva and her lawyers will now have the opportunity to explain and confirm the source of the assets, and the NCA will have six months to decide on further actions. Then the agency may again appeal to the court with a request for the seizure of assets, arguing that the explanations are insufficient or incomplete. The only advantage of NAC in this case is that the lady will have to refute in court the presumption that her assets were acquired on illegal incomes. That's all the UWO features.
Secondly, the court itself and its decision directly confirm that the whole process is rather long and expensive. But nothing has been taken away, everything is just to come. And this lady is not Roman Abramovich and not Andrey Guriev with Alisher Usmanov. The desire to rob them of something will cost the British treasury tens of millions, and if NAC loses, then its entire budget will go towards compensation and payments to lawyers. Zamira Khadzhiyeva is obviously selected for the process as a very easy victim. It is necessary to show that the law somehow works.
Thirdly, the use of new opportunities and UWO is threatened by the consequences for lawyers, bankers and realtors who provided for the acquisition of assets and according to British and European laws had to check the "purity" of the funds spent. And this is not some little-known Azerbaijani banker and his wasteful wife, but his own British taxpayers, who are very dangerous to touch.
So, at present, before the formation of a clear practice, the British courts oligarchs can be not afraid. But to think about the transfer of assets to the homeland is still necessary. The USA with its sanctions is not asleep.
Russian is not the norm
The life of professional lawyers in London with the development of hysteria around "Putin's Russia" has changed significantly. Previously, it happened, you come to hire lawyers for some process for your client, or you go to the bank to open an account for him. Confidently you open the door and say: “Well, finally, in your small company is a holiday - I brought you a wonderful Russian client from the third hundred Forbes. Dance and carry the most expensive cognac from stocks. And remember - there will still be a sign on your building that you had the honor to serve this client. ”
And they danced and carried and respected. Even after 2008, Russian clients remained desirable for many. True, they have become, of course, more capricious and greedy, but compared to the Europeans - quite a nothing. And it was difficult to get things done when it was not clear whether they were stolen from the plaintiff, or whether the plaintiff himself stole everything from everyone — there were many. And now, if you come with a Russian client, then it’s good if you aren’t right off the doorstep: “Who did you bring to our office? Oligarch? Putin's friend? Did you go to Crimea? Does he have any friends from the "Kremlin list"? Did his great-grandfather serve in the GRU? And before he pays us even a penny, and we will at least lift a finger for him, let him tell you how he earned his first ruble! In the Soviet vocational school earned? Let it start from there! Great-grandfather was tried under the tsarist regime for blasphemy and lewdness? Let him forever forget the way to our office! ”
And I'm not exaggerating a half-inch — that's all. And if this continues to continue, then soon there will be no place for an ordinary Russian wealthy man in London — they were completely besieged from all sides, threatening to investigate the whole state, family ties, and how he entered Britain. Such meticulousness extends to well-known investor visas - a legal opportunity for a wealthy person to come to London and settle down there all as a family, making at least £ 2 million into the British economy. through a magnifying glass, and into an electron microscope. Incomes of immigration lawyers are falling, incomes of lawyers explaining the origin of assets are growing.
You can still write a great deal about Britain and especially about the “late Elizabethan period” London, when Skripal, Teresa May, GRU, Novichok and hard Brackzit mixed in the British mind. London has become different - drier, tougher, not so tolerant towards foreigners, as before. It has become much harder to hide money and get the desired British citizenship. But it still has the same culture, education, architecture, and, of course, common law. Maybe it makes sense to move here even now. Unless, of course, enough brains and money.