U.S. spy agencies suspect 14 deaths in Great Britain are linked to Russian assassins – but U.K. police shut down every single case, BuzzFeed reported.
The news outlet said its two-year investigation uncovered a trove of material that included data related to the gruesome 2014 death of one-time multimillionaire tycoon Scot Young – who was impaled on the spikes of a wrought iron fence in London.
Young was among nine men, including the exiled oligarch and Moscow critic Boris Berezovsky, who all died suspiciously on British soil after inciting the wrath of the Kremlin, BuzzFeed News reported.
But U.S. spy agencies believe there is a total of 14 men who have been assassinated on British soil by Russia's security services or mafia groups – and though U.S. intelligence was shared in all 14 deaths, British police ruled out foul play in every last case, the news outlet reported.
"Based on what we know and intelligence gathered in the field and analysed, you can safely say that the strongest conclusion is that circumstances suggest Russian involvement in the deaths of these men and then demand more investigation from U.K," one unnamed U.S. official told the outlet.
Richard Walton, Scotland Yard's former counter-terror commander, acknowledged there had been a series of suspicious deaths connected to Russia over the past decade.
But he declared the anti-terrorism branch of the force was "never complacent," and investigating such cases is "very, very dangerous territory" and "completely out of the scope of local police."
So, even when intelligence strongly pointed to an assassination, there was often too little evidence to make a case stand up in court.
According to BuzzFeed News, the arrival in Britain of a wave of oligarchs – some fleeing Russian President Vladimir Putin's autocratic regime, others seeking a place in the West for their families and cash – coincided with the diversion of almost all Britain's national security resources into the fight against terrorism after September 11.
The intelligence pointing to a campaign of targeted killings comes as concerns around the globe are raised about Moscow interfering in the West – including in the U.S. election last year.
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