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UK govt planned to allow Wagner SLAPP against BBC

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by Edward Steen, Vienna March 21, 2023

Putin’s private, sanctioned warlord, Yevgeny Prigozhin, 61, ex-jailbird, hot-dog salesman,  now billionaire founder of the murderous Wagner Group,  received the same UK govt sanction for a SLAPP attack against the BBC as it granted – a libel action – against Elliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, in August 2021.

Prigozhin, Wagner Group founder and London litigant

Prigozhin’s London solicitors, Discreet Law, (“We understand that it can be difficult to know where to begin when faced with legal issues”) had secured government permission to target Eliot Higgins, founder of investigative website Bellingcat. By December they were preparing to escalate action with a fresh permission from the government to sue the BBC as well.

Wagner Group – named after Putin’s favourite composer

OpenDemocracy revealed in January how a department of the UK Treasury, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), then under the control of Rishi Sunak, now prime minister, had previously authorised lawyers from Discreet Law to receive payment direct from the sanctioned oligarch in Russia, and even approved business class flights to St Petersburg for them to meet him and stay in five-star accommodation. OFSI spokesman: “Enabling people to defend themselves is part of a functioning democracy.”

The opposition Labour party demanded answers from the government on why and how it had enabled Prigozhin’s legal attack, describing it as a “perfect example” of a  SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation).

 

 

 

 

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