How Mining Tycoons Are Trying to Foil a Big U.K. Bribery Probe – by By Franz Wild (Bloomberg News – July 16, 2018)

A trio of Kazakh oligarchs accuse their London lawyer of conspiring with Britain’s top cop

It’s a faint echo of the defense being floated by targets of the Mueller probe in the U.S.—an unaccountable circle of bureaucrats manipulating the system to their own ends. But in London, it’s the last ditch effort by a trio of Kazakh oligarchs to derail the U.K.’s biggest bribery investigation.

The mining tycoons behind Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., the former FTSE 100 company suspected of paying bribes to buy mines in Kazakhstan and Africa, say their own lawyer conspired with Britain’s top cop to incriminate them so he could fleece them for millions of pounds.

Even if they can’t convince a court of this hypothesis, the case will undoubtedly frustrate attempts to bring criminal charges against them and drag out proceedings for months, if not years.

“It’ll complicate the decision about what evidence is usable,” said Michael Levi, a criminal law professor at Cardiff University. “That might be the benefit of muddying the water. Anyone can do this if they have enough money. You need to have enough money, is the key.”

Since the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office started investigating ENRC in 2013, Alexander Machkevitch, Alijan Ibragimov, and Patokh Chodiev—often dubbed the Trio—have gone to great lengths to unwind ties to the City of London. Within months, the oligarchs from the former Soviet Union had delisted ENRC’s stock after suggestions of widespread corruption sent it crashing out of the FTSE 100.

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