BuzzFeed reports: The British government is suppressing explosive intelligence that Alexander Perepilichnyy, a financier who exposed a vast financial crime by Russian government officials, was likely assassinated on the direct orders of Vladimir Putin.
Perepilichnyy, who faced repeated threats after fleeing to Britain, was found dead outside his home in Surrey after returning from a mysterious trip to Paris in 2012. Despite an expert detecting signs of a fatal plant poison in his stomach, the British police have insisted there was no evidence of foul play, and Theresa May’s government has invoked national security powers to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death – which is ongoing.
But an investigation by BuzzFeed News has now obtained fresh evidence that the authorities have deliberately sidelined, and has uncovered how Perepilichnyy spent his last days in Paris. Secret documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials in the US, France, and the UK reveal:
- US spies said they have passed MI6 high-grade intelligence indicating that Perepilichnyy was likely “assassinated on direct orders from Putin or people close to him” and lambasted the British police for their “botched” investigation.
- A highly classified report on Russian state assassinations compiled for the US Congress by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last year asserts with “high confidence” that Perepilichnyy’s murder was sanctioned by Putin, Russia’s president.
- French police are treating the financier’s death as a suspected organised assassination – but say they have been repeatedly stonewalled by their British counterparts.
- Perepilichnyy travelled to Paris before his death for a secret assignation with a 22-year-old Ukrainian woman named Elmira Medynska, who gave an exclusive interview to BuzzFeed News, but who British and French police never spoke to.
The British government refused to comment on the revelations before Perepilichnyy’s inquest – a judicial inquiry to establish his cause of death – reaches a verdict, and the Russian embassy in London did not respond to questions from BuzzFeed News. But Theresa May is now likely to face urgent questions about her role in suppressing evidence said to point to a Russian assassination on British soil amid mounting international concern that the Kremlin is brazenly interfering in the West. The prime minister directed the government’s successful bid to withhold documents from Perepilichnyy’s inquest on national security grounds, and as home secretary her department oversaw the police force that concluded the whistleblower’s death was not suspicious. [Continue reading…]