U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen Urges Biden Administration to Ban Six UK Lawyers for ‘Enabling’ Russian Oligarchs

United States Congressman Steve Cohen has urged the Biden administration to impose travel bans on six British lawyers who have “enabled” Russian oligarchs by engaging in “abusive” lawsuits against journalists.

In an April 18 letter to U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken, Cohen wrote that the oligarchs hired six British lawyers “to engage in abusive lawsuits against journalists to silence them” and that the oligarchs would not be able to “exert malign influence in our system and the systems of our democratic allies without their enablers.”

Cohen urged Blinken to withhold “the privilege of traveling” to the U.S. to the six British lawyers.

“Despite our close ties with the United Kingdom, the nature of its libel laws and the vast amount of blood money in its financial system make it an ideal place for oligarchs to abuse the law to harass and intimidate,” Cohen said.

Most of the lawyers Cohen named were involved in legal action against journalist Catherine Belton and her publisher HarperCollins for the publication of her book, “Putin’s People.”

The lawyers include Nigel Tait of Carter-Ruck, John Kelly of Harbottle & Lewis, Hugh Tomlinson, and Geraldine Proudler of CMS.

Cohen also named Keith Schilling of Schillings, in the letter, accusing him of working “tirelessly to protect the fugitive Malaysian businessmen Jho Low,” who is accused of embezzling billions of dollars from the Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB.

Cohen also named Shlomo Rechtschaffen, who is representing Walter Soriano — whom Cohen accused of being an “enabler” of Oleg Deripaska, Roman Abramovich, and Dmitry Rybolovlev — in an “abusive” lawsuit against U.S. journalist Scott Stedman.

The visa denials could be implemented under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which calls for “anti-kleptocracy and human rights bans,” Cohen said.

Cohen added that ideally, the bans would be made public.

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