UK minister with alleged links to Israeli ‘oligarch’ quits

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, minister of state for security and counter- terrorism, stepped down at her own request in order to work with private industry.

By JONNY PAUL
May 14, 2011 23:28
1 minute read.
Pauline Neville-Jones

Pauline Neville-Jones 311. (photo credit: (Homeoffice.gov.uk))

 
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LONDON – A British cabinet minister who said Israel “had shown the world” how to deal with terrorism while maintaining democracy and who had alleged links to Uzbekistan-born Israeli “oligarch” Michael Cherney has resigned from the government.

According to the government, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, minister of state for security and counter- terrorism, stepped down at her own request in order to work with private industry.

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Speaking in 2008, following a trip to Israel, she said that Britain could learn from Israel on how to handle terrorist threats.

A former head of the UK’s joint intelligence committee, Neville-Jones last year threatened to resign when her appointment to a key cabinet position was blocked after M15 revealed her links to Cherney and another Russian “oligarch,” Dimitry Firtash The UK’s domestic counterintelligence and security agency said in a briefing sent to Prime Minister David Cameron that she had connections to the two billionaires with alleged links to organized crime and a Russian mafia leader, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

According to a source quoted by the newspaper, “MI5 sent a summary of the intelligence on Neville-Jones’s financial associations with the two oligarchs. Based on that submission and on a separate briefing by his political advisers, Cameron decided not to appoint her.”

Instead Neville-Jones was given the more junior position as minister of state at the Home Office, in charge of security and counter-terrorism.

The demotion was said to have infuriated the former career diplomat, whose career spanned more than 30 years serving in an array of locations including Washington and Bonn.

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Prime Minister Cameron last week praised her for helping to ensure the balance between security and liberty and for drawing up the original plans for the National Security Council.

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