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Alisher Usmanov Parliamentary Question rebuffed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The Labour government appears to be trying to protect Alisher Usmanov, from public scrutiny:

Written answers Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Alisher Usmanov

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)

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

Jim Murphy (Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office)

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.

This reliance on alleged "personal data" exemptions to the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act and to Parliamentary Questions, by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is puzzling.

They are not invoking "national security", which one might expect them to do, regarding the so called "confidential telegrams" (i.e. communications between an Embassy and the FCO, which are more likely to be secure emails these days, than actual telegrams) or even Open Source Intelligence, which former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has mentioned regarding Alisher Usmanov's criminal convictions and pardons, and his allegedly corrupt links with the Moscow and Tashkent ruling presidential cliques.

This "personal data" excuse is also what the FCO appear to be relying on in their refusal to name the former Russian Federation and British diplomats who were expelled from Lonson and from Moscow, over the Andrei Litvinenko Polonium-210 radioactive poisoning murder and contamination affair.

They seem to be on shaky ground, given the rulings by the Information Commissioner and the Information Tribunal regarding the disclosure of many more names, official job titles and official contact details of Ministry of Defence sales / procurement employees.

Where in the Data Protection Act 1998 (which also impinges on the Section 40 Personal Data exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act 2000), does the statute claim global legal jurisdiction ?

Why should the "personal data" exemptions apply to foreign nationals specifically about their activities outside of the legal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom ?

The Home Office has also refused to answer a Question about Alisher Usmanov's British Citizenship, if any:

House of Lords Written Answers on 16 Oct 2007

British Citizenship: Alisher Usmanov

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay (Liberal Democrat)
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.

Lord West of Spithead (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office)

It is the policy of the Border and Immigration Agency not to comment publicly on individual cases.

Which is the standard answer given in previous scandals involving British passports for super rich foreigners, who may or may not be claiming non-domicile tax exemption status.

Have Alisher Usmanov's UK spin doctors Finsbury PR and his shysters Schillings, or others, been trying to lobby the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the rest of the Labour government ?

Will we see a Lakshmi Mittal style contribution of of a couple of million pounds to Labour party funds from Alisher Usmanov ?


Labour should hold out for at least £10 million on this one and tell him to lay off our national sport and bloggers, even Tim.

Presumably the same restrictions prevent them from commenting on any aspect of Osama bin Laden and other similar individuals? ;-)

So the news reports covering this week's MI5 low-down on Osama and his 'brand' (Guardian, 8 Nov) were invention?

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