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Secrecy surrounds Gov’s review of unlawful ‘Abramovich raids’

Secrecy surrounds Gov’s review of unlawful ‘Abramovich raids’

Monday 09 January 2023

Secrecy surrounds Gov’s review of unlawful ‘Abramovich raids’

Monday 09 January 2023

The Government is refusing to provide any information about an investigation commissioned by the Chief Minister into unlawful raids of premises allegedly connected to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Deputy Kristina Moore requested the review into the searches in November, shortly after the Royal Court decided that search warrants – used by police officers seconded to the Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit to raid two properties in April – were "obtained unlawfully".

The raids preceded a freeze of more than $7bn-worth of assets suspected to be connected to Mr Abramovich, through a Royal Court order known as a 'saisie judiciaire'.

The documents also showed that, at an unpublicised Royal Court hearing, police chief Robin Smith agreed to apologise to two applicants – understood to be local financial services firms allegedly linked to Mr Abramovich – and pay damages to them using public funds.

The names of the lawyers representing the firms were blacked out on the court files seen by Express and the JEP.

Speaking in November, Deputy Moore said the review would “ensure any lessons learned can be considered and implemented in the most expedient manner.”

On Friday, the Government refused to answer questions from Express on whether the independent review requested by Deputy Moore had started.

They also declined to reveal who was going to be leading it, the review's terms of reference, and whether the ultimate findings would be shared with the public.

It is not the first time that details surrounding the police searches have been withheld from the public – in November the government also refused to share how much public money would be used to fund the damages.

And, in a States Assembly sitting later that month, Attorney General Mark Temple said he was unable to comment on any potential disciplinary proceedings in his department – stating that it was "very important that live criminal investigations are not subject to political interference".

It comes after the Guardian reported that it had seen leaked files suggesting that 10 trusts in the island and Cyprus were “rapidly reorganised in early February 2022” – three weeks before President Vladimir Putin launched his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine – to make his seven children the ultimate beneficiaries.

The newspaper said the assets held in the trusts were estimated to be at least $4bn, including luxury properties, yachts, helicopters and private jets.

A decision in a Royal Court case in December, which saw lawyers representing companies with alleged links to sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich argue that Jersey Police should pay a bigger share of the legal bills they have run up following an unlawful raid on their premises, is expected soon.


Chief Minister orders review into unlawful Abramovich investigation raid

Public money to fund damages for unlawful 'Abramovich raid'

Police admit unlawful search at premises linked to Abramovich, report claims

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Russian assets frozen by Jersey firms top £1bn

Jersey firms froze £700m in Russian assets in March

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