Jun 12, 2017

U.K. government allegedly suppressing intel on death of Russian whistleblower

Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

A investigation from BuzzFeed News has found the "British government is suppressing explosive intelligence" related to the 2012 death of Russian whistleblower Alexander Perepilichny, who was found dead in England with traces of a rare toxin in his stomach. Before he died, Perepilichny helped expose a Russian money laundering scam worth $230 million.

  • Putin's role: U.S. intel officials said they passed intelligence to MI6, the British spy agency, that Perepilichny was likely "assassinated on direct orders from Putin or people close to him." The Office of the Director of National Intelligence last year asserted with "high confidence" Putin sanctioned the alleged murder.
  • Similarly, French police are treating the death as a suspected organized assassination, but British police haven't cooperated with that investigation.
  • Theresa May's government invoked national security powers in 2016 to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death.

U.S. and U.K. officials said the U.K. government doesn't want to hurt U.K.-Russian relations, as in a 2006 incident in which the U.K accused Moscow of murdering former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London.

"Several officials said the British government was particularly keen to preserve the flow of Russian money into London banks and properties," BuzzFeed writes.

What's next: The inquest into his cause of death opened June 5 this year and will last several weeks. The police and Perepilichny's wife are arguing he died of natural causes. His life insurance company is arguing murder and is accusing the police of a cover-up. His lawyers are claiming he was killed for exposing the fraud.

Don't forget: nine Russians have died under suspicious circumstances since November 2016, including six diplomats, a former KGB official with links to the Trump dossier, a former Russian MP, and a top Russian space official who was found dead March 18, apparently from stab wounds, while being held on embezzlement charges, which he denied.

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The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.