In April 2018, Boris Johnson, already overseas minister, was photographed on the Italian airport of San Francesco d’Assisi by a gaggle of vacationers. He appeared utterly depressing and he could not conceal his tiredness. The evening earlier than he had been in one of many legendary events that Evgeny Lebedev celebrated in his Terranova Palace.
Among the many `British socialite´, the occasions organized by the Russian tycoon -owner of the newspaper ‘Night Customary’ (which he purchased in 2009 for only one pound) and ‘The Unbiased’ (which he additionally acquired when he was experiencing financial difficulties) – are memorable . There isn’t a lack of alcohol, caviar or music, with non-public concert events by Elton John or teams just like the Pet Store Boys. The rule is “something goes”.
For years, as a number of inordinate generosity, Evgeny has managed to carve out a distinct segment for himself within the British Institution, rubbing shoulders with politicians, actors, businessmen and aristocrats. However he has at all times aroused the suspicions of the key providers as a result of, above all else, he’s the son of Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB agent.
Though that has by no means been an issue for Johnson. It is extra, one of many first choices he made when he turned prime minister was to make him Lord, thus making him the primary Russian to enter the Higher Home of Westminster, whose members aren’t elected by the British individuals, however do have a say in laws.
With the pictures of April 2018, the alarms already went off. The previous Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia had been attacked with the nerve agent novichok within the English city of Salisbury. Besides, Johnson took a airplane to Italy to attend certainly one of Evgeny’s large events.
He determined to go alone to the appointment, with out even a bodyguard. Undoubtedly, we’re speaking in regards to the head of diplomacy in United Kingdom he was at a celebration with the Russian tycoon and his father (a former KGB agent) with out anybody having the ability to see what he was doing or saying. Though in principle Evgeny’s father not works for Vladimir Putin’s regime, in response to a ebook revealed final yr by Jacopo Iacoboni, a monetary reporter for the newspaper La Stampa, his actions in Umbria – the scene of huge events – have been linked to “Espionage and interference overseas”.
Johnson’s friendship with Evgeny begins in 2009, only a yr after the eccentric politician turned mayor of London. The Lebedevs have simply purchased the Night Customary, the British capital’s influential night paper.
At the moment, the Russian was a terrific unknown within the management of the Institution. However in June 2009, he organized a fundraising celebration at certainly one of his West London mansions, in reminiscence of Mikhail Gorbachev’s spouse. The previous chief of the previous Soviet Union was current and was the massive draw. After the night, Evgeny invited Johnson to lunch on the Blueprint Café, an unique restaurant close to Tower Bridge overlooking the Thames. They linked immediately.
The then Mayor of London noticed a possibility in a person who was determined to please, community and make his means within the UK. The eccentric politician, now prime minister, turned so near the oligarch that he visited the fort in Perugia – base of events the place something goes – each October for 5 consecutive years, from 2012 to 2016. The host took care of all of the Bills: Between 2013 and 2015, Johnson accepted £7,150 for flights and lodging, accounting for it on hand-signed expense statements as “social networking occasions.”
Because the friendship strengthened, the Russian was displaying political views that had been very a lot in keeping with the Kremlin on such controversial points because the conflict in Syria or the invasion of Crimea. Furthermore, on August 10, 2013, he even revealed a message on Twitter the place he even raised the chance that it was the British secret providers, as an alternative of Vladimir Putin, who had been behind the homicide of Alexander Litvinenko, the extremely important former Russian spy. with the Kremlin, poisoned in 2006 with polonium via contaminated tea he drank in a central London lodge.
Enjoyable and enterprise have at all times gone hand in hand. On the Christmas events that the Lebedevs manage yearly at their mansion in Belgravia, the unique London neighborhood, nobody is lacking. Politicians—of all stripes—often arrive very first thing within the morning. These chosen by the host go to “Stalin’s room” to have just a little extra privateness in conversations of curiosity. And late at evening, singers, actresses and different ‘celebrities’ arrive.