The Labour Government and Alisher Usmanov

In the latest disturbing news in Arsenal’s ownership struggle, the British government this week stonewalled questions in the Houses of Parliament about Alisher Usmanov, everyone’s favourite obese oligarch.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish reports received from British embassies relating to Alisher Usmanov. [158765]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Such information would constitute personal data. A request for personal information brings into play the relevant legislative provisions on data release by the Government and would require the consent of the individual concerned.

and

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty’s Government:

    Whether Mr Alisher Usmanov holds British citizenship, whether honorary or not; and, if so, when and why it was granted. [HL5411]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is the policy of the Border and Immigration Agency not to comment publicly on individual cases.

Given the government has not always followed these policies previously in other cases, Craig Murray asks “is New Labour supporting Usmanov in covering up his past?” Why might they do this? Well, Murray has an idea. “I wonder if Gallagher Holdings, or any of Usmanov’s other companies, will turn out to have made donations or “loans” to New Labour?”

Update: Spy Blog has some interesting commentary on this.

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