Photo: Movie Poster
Observers of “Londongrad” (as London’s burgeoning Russian emigre community is often referred to) were given a new bit of intrigue this weekend when they were introduced to the mysterious case of “E1”.The Sunday Telegraph got its hands on court documents filed by the British intelligence agency MI5 that sought to remove a mysterious man known as E1 from the UK, arguing that he was working on a middleman on an assassination attempt and would be a serious threat to national security.
The alleged target (referred to bizarrely as “Vanessa Redgrave Friend”) was Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen opposition leader and former actor now living in the country. Chechan president Ramzan Kadyrov, known for partying with Western stars such as Hilary Swank, was thought to be behind the order.
MI5 wrote: “Kadyrov, who had been responsible for the assassination of a number of his opponents, has a black list of individuals, some of whom he wished to have assassinated, and … the exiled Prime Minister of Chechnya, Akhmed Zakayev, a refugee living in the UK, was believed to be on this list.”
The security agency went on to say that E1 was also thought to be involved in the murder of Umar Israilov, a former Kadyrov bodyguard and vocal critic killed in Austria in 2009.
Amazingly, however, E1 may be allowed to stay in the country despite these concerns. He arrived in the country as a refugee from the brutal Chechan war in 2003. He now has 6 children inside the UK, two of them born there, and it may be these family links to the UK that would allow him to overturn a decision personally made by the UK home secretary Theresa May and stay in the country, the Guardian reports.
E1’s wife and children are now British citizens, though his own citizenship has been denied. He is currently in detention while his legal battle continues.
The Russian press has since been abuzz with talk about the possible identity of the man — Novaya Gazeta yesterday used sources in Austria to ascertain that the man is probably a former bodyguard of ex-Chechan leader Aslan Maskhadov.
For “Londongrad”, the news seems to confirm everyone’s worst fears — that far from being the safe-haven many Russian emigres like to think it is, old grudges from Russian are being settled on English soil.
The notorious murder of former spy Alexander Litvinenko has now been followed by an attempted hit this week on Russian banker German Gorbuntsov, who was hit by sub-machine gun fire near his home.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.