World

Navalny describes ‘corrupt officials’ in London helping Putin in never-before-seen interview

Alexei Navalny once hit out at the “corrupt officials” living in London who allegedly help Vladimir Putin’s regime stash dirty money, Sky News can reveal.

In a never-before-seen interview acquired by Sky News, the late Russian opposition leader spoke about his hope for a better future for his country – and the risks he knew he was taking.

He made the comments in an interview four years before his death in a penal colony north of the Arctic Circle.

Considered to be the most vocal critic of President Putin, Mr Navalny collapsed and failed to regain consciousness on 16 February.

The interview was conducted in February 2020 and is believed to be one of the last that Mr Navalny would give while in full health.

In August that year he was poisoned while on a flight back to Moscow.

Still from unaired Alexei Navalny interview - DO NOT USE UNTIL 26/02/2024
Image:
Alexei Navalny in the unaired interview from 2020

The wide-ranging interview takes in his hopes for a Russian future as part of Europe, his personal safety and some tough words for Britain and the West when it came to letting Mr Putin’s associates get away with it.

“The West does nothing at all, I would say. There are some ritual dances, but nothing really happens,” he says.

“Why do corrupt officials still live in London? Because these corrupt officials feed a huge number of wonderful London lawyers.

“These people, they will appear very civilised, we will be pleased to chat with them if they sit next to us, they will be wearing a tie and fine manners, and at the same time they are serving the interests of utter, complete bandits.”

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office paid tribute to Mr Navalny’s life exposing Russian corruption.

It added: “The UK has sanctioned 2,000 individuals, companies and groups under our Russia sanctions regime alone, while directly targeting Putin-linked elites in the UK through the National Crime Agency’s Combatting Kleptocracy Cell. Corruption and kleptocracy will never be welcome on our shores.”

A vigil takes place in Paris after the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Pic: Reuters
Image:
A vigil in Paris for Alexei Navalny. Pic: Reuters

Read more:
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Who is Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia?

In words that echo louder now after his death in prison, Mr Navalny adds: “Russia is a European country, all the people who live here want to live like Europe.

“So I hope that 10 years from now, if you interview me again, I’ll be able to tell you how we managed to overcome the corrupt money laundering.”

The interview, acquired by Sky News and broadcast for the first time, was shot as part of an unaired documentary series, After The Fall, directed by Matthew Thorne and produced by Andrew Duncan.

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