Is justice independent in France? The Mukhtar Abliazov case
Life after politics can be a daunting prospect. But, for some, after many years in government, perhaps as career politicians, entering the private sector also opens up a host of financial opportunities and rewards that were once technically prohibited.
No one goes into politics in the UK to make money, just ask Boris Johnson. However, the status that comes with holding a senior position often attracts significant and lucrative opportunities for those leaving the halls of Westminster. George Osborne is a notable example, who among 10 private sector jobs he took after leaving office got a Â£ 650,000 a year advisory role at BlackRock. Tony Blair in early 2008 joined US investment bank JP Morgan as a âsenior advisor,â which would have earned him six figures for three 90-minute appearances per year.
The Business Appointments Advisory Committee (Acoba) is the government’s watchdog that sets the rules for outgoing MPs, ministers and other senior officials on what they can and cannot do in the first two years after their appointment. departure. Current guidelines suggest that ministers wait at least three months after leaving government before taking on a paid role in the private sector and are required to seek the advice of the committee that will assess the merits of the role and whether this will be considered. as a reward for work done in the office, or if the old position will give rise to an unfair advantage, at which point a prospect may be considered âunsuitableâ. However, Acoba has no official powers to apply, and there are several instances where ministers have chosen to ignore the recommendations, including outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who joined The Telegraph immediately after his brief tenure as head. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron also recently made headlines after his ties to Greensill Capital came to light. He faces allegations that he exploited his position and his network to seek preferential access to public funding for the bank, he firmly denies. The now collapsed bank, run by disgraced financier Lex Greensill, has left the British taxpayer with a bill of more than Â£ 1 billion.
As an advisor to the bank, he lobbied the government a lot and in return he was widely rewarded. Although no figures have been made public, he admits to having a great economic stake in the bank’s success, telling MPs: “On anyone’s terms, it was a generous salary.”
Appearing before the Special Treasury Committee and the Public Accounts Committee last week, Cameron was toast for four hours on a series of now public messages he sent to ministers, MPs and other government officials lobbying on behalf of form the bank. Such was his voracity and insistence that Labor MP Angela Eagle accused him of effectively stalking, rather than lobbying, while another MP criticized him for discrediting the Prime Minister’s Office.
Malcolm Rifkind, former foreign minister and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, is another politician who has found himself in hot water, following a ‘cash for access’ scandal in 2015 while he was still in office. Since choosing to step down, he has held several board positions at various consulting firms, including 17 Arm, a firm involved in the dubious cases of unregulated litigation financing and asset recovery. .
Founded by controversial businessman Paddy Meade on the 8the Earl of Clanwilliam, the Dubai-based company is not a member of the Association of Litigation Funders (ALF) and therefore, unlike others in the field, does not operate under established codes of conduct, nor does not raise capital for open business. market through institutional investors like the others, leaving a big question mark on the source of its funds.
17 Arm recently made headlines when The Guardian announced that he was funding the case Alexander Tugushev bought against his former partner, Vitaly Orlov, which has been taking place in UK courts since 2018.
Tugushev, himself a former government official in his capacity as vice-chairman of the (then) State Fisheries Committee of the Russian Federation, is a convicted fraudster, who in 2007 was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. prison in Russia for abusing his position in public office and accepting bribes and bribes He is also the subject of several other criminal investigations opened in Russia, including an indictment for fraud committed against Mr Orlov who is now procedurally linked to a separate case in which Tugushev is the subject of an international arrest warrant on charges of fraud against Mr Alexander Sychev.
It is unclear who is funding 17 Arm in this case, with Tugushev going so far as to pay Â£ 7.8million in securities to cover legal fees in order to avoid identifying his backers, who would be possible rivals of the fishing company of Orlov Norebo and individuals. of the Russian criminal underworld seeking to cash in.
The practice of former public servants using their networks and experience to profit from lucrative business deals is not new. In fact, why would a company add an expensive former public servant to its payroll if not because of the doors it can open? In all industries, almost all of the departing public servants in recent years, on both sides of the House, have entered the private sector.
In most cases, as questionable as these relationships and agreements may seem from the outside, no rules have apparently been broken, instead the system is simply being manipulated for the benefit of individuals like Lex Greensill, and even wanted criminals like Tugushev, who try to gain credibility by riding the coats of these connected and influential individuals.
For respected figures such as Rifkind and the former public prosecutor, Ken Macdonald to be linked to such people demonstrates the need to reform and strengthen Acoba, which has so far proved ineffective in ensuring that former public officials do not question the integrity of British political institutions.