As one of Russia’s most senior Olympic officials with a £10 billion personal fortune, Vladimir Lisin will come to London this summer with a very special role to play. The oligarch is offering $1 million (£650,000) as reward to every Russian athlete who wins gold at the 2012 games.
But in contrast to his largesse in London, he finds himself implicated in a growing scandal over the shipment of Russian weapons to Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is waging a brutal war against his own people.
Dr Lisin, a keen marksman with his own grouse shooting estate in Scotland, has now emerged as the owner of a shipping company alleged to have transported a boat load of weapons just a fortnight ago from St Petersburg to Syria.
The claims concern the cargo delivered by the Professor Katsman, a container ship, which docked in Tartus, Syria’s second biggest port, on May 26th, one day after the massacre of more than 100 people in Houla.
Many of the victims were children, who were summarily executed in an atrocity that sparked international revulsion. Last Wednesday, a further 80 civilians were systematically killed in the village of Qubair by pro-government militias, and yesterday, opposition activists claimed Syrian tanks had bombarded a neighbourhood in the southern city of Deraa, where the first seeds of unrest were sown in March last year, killing at least 17.
Read the whole story: TheTelegraph