Alexander Lebedev: I have fought for years to bring Luzhkov's corruption to light

Share
Related Topics

I have a long history with Yuri Luzhkov. I ran against him for the job of Moscow Mayor in 2003, shortly before elections for regional leaders in Russia were abolished. I have spent the years since attempting to bring evidence of the corruption and abuses of power that took place under Mr Luzhkov's rule to light.

Now that President Dmitry Medvedev has finally fired him, I've been getting a lot of phone calls with apparent "congratulations" from friends and colleagues. But this isn't a time to celebrate. My fight against Mr Luzhkov and his wife, Elena Baturina, has been nothing personal, because they are not just individuals, but represent a broader social phenomenon.

I don't like the way that Moscow has been run during Mr Luzhkov's time in charge. Moscow has become a city that is impossible to live in. The air is poisonous to breathe, and prices are artificially high. Mr Luzhkov has run the city primarily to benefit the business interests of his wife.

Today I have sent an appeal to the relevant authorities in Russia, Britain, the US, the European Commission and the United Nations, asking them to investigate the corrupt activities of Mr Luzhkov and Ms Baturina. In the first instance, this appeal is based on information presented to the High Court in London by a leading Russian developer, Chalva Tchigirinsky, that Ms Baturina secretly held a 50 per cent stake in his firm, Sibir Energy, because "no major projects can proceed in the city without her backing". Mr Tchigirinsky also said he spent around $12m on Ms Baturina's behalf for bills including maintaining her private jet.

We also have documentary evidence of several instances where Mr Luzhkov has used his position corruptly to benefit the business interests of his wife. I believe an international investigation into the business dealings of Mr Luzhkov and his wife is imperative as corruption should be fought everywhere it rears its head.

Governments need to work together to get rid of offshore banking centres, and blacklist banks involved in money laundering. As part of the fight, I envisage an international network of investigative journalists that would look into corruption across the world. We are sitting on a volcano that could erupt at any minute – how many more cases like Enron, Parmalat or Bernie Madoff on the one hand, and Mr Luzhkov or corrupt African dictators on the other do we need to spur us on to action? We only find out the full extent when it's too late. Moscow's former mayor is just one part – albeit a big one – of corruption on a global scale. This evil must be treated in the same way as apartheid was in its time, because like apartheid, it deprives whole nations of their futures.

Alexander Lebedev is the proprietor of 'The Independent'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits  

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Time travel: Thomas Cook has been trading since 1841  

A horror show from Thomas Cook that tells you all you need to know about ethical consumerism

Janet Street-Porter
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?