- Hannah Mckay/Reuters
- The Legatum Insitute is going to be looked into over ties to Russia.
- The pro-Brexit think tank will be part of a “scope” ahead of the intelligence and security select committee’s investigation into Russian activities against the UK.
- The group, which has close ties to pro-Brexit ministers, denies any wrongdoing.
LONDON – A British think tank that has close ties with Pro-Brexit Conservatives is to be looked into by the head of the parliamentary committee that is investigating Russian activities against the UK.
The Legatum Institute, which has links with senior Conservatives such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, is going to be looked into over concerns that it has close ties with Russia that stems from its founder, Christopher Chandler, making part of his fortune through investments in the country.
Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, the chairman of the intelligence and security committee, told The Sunday Times that he would “scope” out the think tank as part of his preparations for an inquiry into Russian activities against the UK.
It follows Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who used to be a Foreign Office minister with responsibility for the security services, raising his concerns about the think tank at a committee meeting last month.
Bradshaw has previously told Business Insider that he thinks there needs to be a “full government investigation into all aspects of [Russian] subversion” and that Vladimir Putin’s regime has “actively and deliberately” attempted to subvert democratic votes around the world.
The Legatum Institute is also subject of an enquiry by the charity watchdog over whether the think tank is being used for its stated aim to “advance the education of the public in national and international political, social and economic policy.”
It was reported that the think tank’s economics director, Shanker Singham, helped Johnson and Gove draft a letter they sent to Theresa May over their concerns about the Brexit process. Singham has also held at least seven meetings with ministers and officials at the Department for Exiting the EU in the past year.
A spokesperson for the institute said: “It is not true that Shanker Singham was a co-author of the letter to the PM.”
On the news that Grieve would be looking into it, the spokesperson said the institute has “complied with all laws and regulations, is providing a valuable public service in line with our charitable objects, and is, therefore, more than ready to respond as required.”
They also said that Chandler “is not involved in the operations” of the organisation, but was present in London last week for the launch of its prosperity index and the think tank’s headquarters.