20/12/2012 Newsnight


As the plebgate story refuses to die, have police/government relations hit a new low? And why President Putin thinks Russia's relations with America are being poisoned.

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It's plebgate, is it becoming plodgate, today the Police


Federation was effectively lobbying a move towards a possible apology.


I will wait to see what happens in relation to the investigation. If


he has been done a disservice in relation to what has happened, I


will be first in the queue to apologise. Why is the relationship


between the Government and the police so fraught. Also tonight,


the kings of the credit crunch. Thousands of pawnbrokers filling a


gap in the market for the rich and the poor. There is no other choice,


really. I wouldn't go to my family for money, I would rather use what


I have got myself. We will talk to one MP who thinks the rules need to


be toughened up. And Vladimir Putin threatens to retaliate against an


American ban on corrupt Russian officials, will he really stop


Americans adopting Russian children. Good evenings. While the police


investigate the role played in Andrew Mitchell's downfall by an e-


mail sent by an offduty officer, who allegedly claimed to be a


member of the public. The former Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker, have


has accused the Police Federation of using the affair for political


ends. In the days following the dispute, not only did they want to


get a cabinet minister but they also wanted to use it as a


campaigning tool between Government and officials. The Police


Federation has denied this, but the chairman says he will apologise if


there was a disservice committed. We will look at why the relations


between Government and rank and file officers are so strained.


First we have this. And so, it appears, we might have


to say farewell to that rather clumsy label "plebgate" and give a


cautious, but weary reincarnation, "plodgate". Was there a conspiracy


to fit up the former Chief Whip. That is a question we still can't


answer. Today the Metropolitan Police made a second arrest in


their on going investigation. There are questions too for dam yofpblt


how come it took Channel 4 to uncover, David Cameron, how come it


took Channel 4 to uncover significant questions on the


strength of evidence against Andrew Mitchell. When David Cameron's own


cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, had been given the job of


investigating and had access to a...We Have a programme of reform


that the police have actually been in need of for 30 years, really.


How has that gone down, that combination of measures? The Police


Federation has opposed each of those measures, tooth and nail, and


with as emotional a campaign as any public sector union has done.


are the actions of a Police Federation in furthering their aims


the legitimate campaigning of a representative body, or have they


tipped into moral blackmail and bullying.


Home Secretary, do you sleep at night? There are not many playing


nice cop at the Police Federation Conference, if you are the Home


Secretary. Today, the Police Federation answered questions for


the first time, about their actions during the Mitchell affair. I think


it is unfortunate that we are three months down the line and only now


finding out what some of these facts were at the very start.


Seeing the CCTV footage, seeing the fact that there was apparently some


police officer purporting to be a member of the public, that sort of


thing. It is unfortunate it has taken three months for those facts


to come out. It is clear that Andrew Mitchell is now a far more


relaxed figure, given the events of the week. Happy Christmas.


Relations between the police and the Government are now more tense


than ever. I'm joined from Brighton by the


former Home Secretary, Lord Baker, from Newcastle the best-selling


diarist, Chris Mullen, and with me in the studio Mr Hurly, a former


senior official at Scotland Yard, and Mike Pannett. The Police


Federation was not available to come on tonight. The police are in


a situation where they are not allowed to strike. Surely they have


every right to take the battle to the Government wherever they can?


Of course they can protest, I'm not objects to that at all. The police


are in real trouble this year. We had the Hillsborough affair, where


there was fabricated evidence, and the Rotherham affair where the


police didn't prosecute people who were abusing young girls. And the


extraordinary episode of a police officer pretending to be a member


of the public, fabricating evidence, totally false evidence, saying


there was a crowd. Let's be clear these are still allegations, Lord


Baker on the last point? Sorry? They are still allegations?


Certainly allegations. I believe the Police Federation had decided


they had saw a wounded cabinet minister and they decided to strike


and bring him down. They ran an overtly political campaign. They


produced T-shirts and banners at the Tory Party conference. They


were using this as an attack upon the Government which, they dislike.


They don't like the review that has been set up into their pay and


conditions and early retirement. As a result they behaved atrociously


and unfairly. Let me put that to the studio. Atrociously unfairly,


it looked like the Police Federation were being gleeful and


acting in a cheap way? I come from the point of view of trying to


deliver for the people of sury. My concern is to make sure the morale


of and motivation of police officers is fit for purpose. Would


you have been happy if a police officer in your area was wearing


those T-shirts, maybe they were? don't know if they were. The


strongest weapon the police always have is to retain their dignity and


remain measured. Did they lose it by having those T-shirts? They Z


there is a huge measure of from us trai, they have seen the starting


numbers of police constables cut to �14,000 a year, less than a


community support officer. average police officer is on more


than �40,000 ay, and one in four met constables are on more than


that? There are a number of police officers on that salary, but the


nature and number of police officers we can recruit on that


money, I want quality people to protect the Surrey population.


Chris Mullen, you have long experience of the police, are you


surprised that the federation acts in such a vehement way? -- acted in


such a vehement way? Not in the least. They have a long track


record of bullying and intimidating people who get in their way, be


they journalists or politicians or whoever. I have been monstered by


them myself in days gone by. quick example of being bullied, you,


personally, bullied, really? I was the chairman of the Home Affairs


Select Committee some years a and we conducted an inquiry into -- ago,


and we conducted an inquiry into reforming police procedure, and as


a result of some not very controversial remarks I made, they


started ringing up the Home Secretary, demanding that he call


for my dismissia. Then they rang the opposition home affairs


spokesman and made the same demand. Then they rang round each member of


the committee, demanding they disassociate themselves from me.


All of them declined, as it happened. But, and I, you know,


don't complain about that, because I'm politician, and I don't -- I'm


a politician, and I know the heat of the kitchen. This is modus Peter


Mandelson die. Is that OK -- Modus operandi.


have been called the last unreformed public service, is there


real rancour there? What is in here, is the rank and file officers and


their morale is at an all-time low. I have heard to Lord Baker and


listening to comments made by the federation and the rest. The real


question here, yes there is issues between federation and Government,


I have never known it so bad. That is not good for policing and


governance. Do you think, just on the very point that Lord Baker was


saying, do you think there is a defensiveness in the police,


Hillsborough, Leveson and so forth? There is dreadful things happening


within policing, and a lot of those, like Hillsborough, big inquiries


taking place. Taking it back, while we are all sitting here, looking at


the months. We are looking at the original incident, where the Chief


Whip has come to the gates of Downing Street and there has been


an altercation at those gates. Those officers have then reported


what was said. We have to remember this is all about what did the


Chief Whip say. I have no doubt, neither has the commissioner,


Hogan-Hoe, about the integrity of those two police officers that have


said what was said. All through this Mitchell has never said what


he did say. If he had just said he was sorry, and he need not have


said what he used, but he said in the end he said he didn't say


anything, then he said I did swear, but I didn't say what those


officers have said. Lord Baker, do you think what has been said about


the sequence of events there, and the idea if Andrew Mitchell had


spoken quickly it would have diffused this, is symptomatic of


the bad relationship between the police and the Government? Andrew


Mitchell apologised several times, he responded very quickly what you


might be witnessing here is a grave error of injustice. In fact, from a


police officer. We know that one is lying, total lo. And could I just


say to the commissioner. -- Totally. And could I just say to the


commissioner. We are at allegation stage at the moment? He needs to


try to restore the trust of the British public in the police, I


don't think that begins with talking about their pay and


salaries. In fact, there is a lack of trust at the moment, that is


very, very disturbing. Because you have got the British public who


have to have trust in their police. Let me talk about that, the trust


in the police is very, very important. And Lord Baker, and


Chris Mullen too there were two reports, the Sheehy report, that


wasn't implemented, that was a real struggle, and the Windsor Report,


there has to be some kind of accommodation. Why is it so hard to


come to that? Lord Baker is correct. We need to rebuild the trust in the


whole way in which the police are viewed. But they are still regarded


very, very highly. But what is this amounting to, there has been a


break down of relationships between Government and the Police


Federation. You saw that there, you saw the remark to Theresa May, "Do


you sleep at night?" Why should the Home Secretary go to the


conference? Because she's the leader, she needs to influence the


people she's working with. The real problem we have got here, is like


everybody else in society they are having their pay and conditions cut.


They are also having huge changes done to the sway they operate,


which causes them to believe they are considered as lesser citizens,


their bosses have been replaced by people who have never been in the


police before. You are talking about Tom Windsor? And other people,


they are told all their promotions are stopped and people coming in


with three years service to replace them. I come at this, not as a


police officer, but a politician, who wants to maintain the morale of


the work force. Maybe you don't agree, or you do that actually the


Police Service does need reform, and it should take a hit like so


many other services are having to take at the moment. We are still in


recessionary times? I agree that the police have to take cuts like


so many other public sector organisations. What I don't


necessarily agree with is actions that damage the overall morale and


sense of value of the Police Service. Some of the things, this


isn't just from the police point of view, just about the salaries, it


is about the fact that people have been brought in, three years in


charge of whole shifts of people. Chris Mullen, do you think that on


the Government side there hasn't been a sensitive handling, for


example, the commissioner there talks about Tom Windsor coming n


Tom Windsor's report, and he became Inspector of Constabulary, he has


never been a police officer? They have seen off all comers over the


last 20 or 30 years when it comes to reform. There is scope for


considerable reform in relation to, not only, well in particular to


some of the police practices, and great waste of resources, sometimes.


I have to say as well, there is nothing new about this, they say


that morale is at an all-time low, I have heard that at least half-a-


dozen time in the last 20 years. The fact is, given a succession of


home secretaries, they have mistreated a succession of hoves


ministers in their conferences, they were slow hand-clapping Will


Straw, during the 19 -- 2005 general election. This isn't a


party plea? The only point I make to you, is not particularly a


grudge against this Government. has it come to this, in a situation


where we need the public to trust and have faith in police officers,


they do a job where they put their lives at risk day in day out, but


we are now where partly as a result of the Andrew Mitchell affair, what


happens to it, we might be facing discussions, conversations,


negotiating where even more axe crown mus -- that are even more


acrimonious with the outcome of this case? Going back to what Lord


Baker said about Andrew Mitchell offering an apology, he said he


didn't say what the officers said, he brought into question the


integrity of those officers. I have said today, I think the public are


fed up with what's going on. We have seen political points going


from all sides, it has to stop. This is about policing, and this is


about policy. We have to get the two together, there should be a


common cause, that should be to deal with people who are making


people's lives a misry that is what policing is about. Here we are


months down the line, there are dreadful things, and cuts happening


within the police, and issues within policing. And it may be that


Andrew Mitchell is back in a cabinet post soon. What do you


think the likelihood of that is? That is quite possible. Can I make


a point about Tom Windsor, the police should not really object to


somebody outside the police force being their Chief Inspector, the


prisons have been inspected now for many years by people who have


nothing to do with the Prison Service. They did very, very good


reports. The police have always said this is our particular field,


no-one else must take an interest in it at all. I think things have


to move on from. That that is part of winning back the trust. The


police have to answer to somebody, they should be answering to the new


commissioners. One of the things that should be happening is that. I


still think the politicisation of the police would be disastrous of


our economiccy, for our democracy, and the chairman needs to change


his tune. And the chairman tonight, the weasel words of that, that if


Andrew Mitchell is found knot not guilty we will apologise.


apologise for the technical problems in the film previous to


this discussion. Pawnbrokers will always be


associated with dark Dickensian London. By the end of the 20th


century awful them had shut up shop. By 1980 there were 50 branches left


in the UK. Now the industry is thriving anew, filling a yawning


gap as banks stop lending, and both poor and rich struggle to find


credit. There are now more than 2,000 pawn shop. As we report, that


number is expected to rise further as the squeeze on household incomes


continue. Somewhere deep in the Surrey hills,


a hidden mile of tunnels. 5,000 aircraft workers, sheltered


here in the Second World War. The men and women who made the


Hurricane fighter. Untouched for half a century, these cold, dry


tunnels, are now being used for something very different. This is a


Chateau Petrus 2000, it is about �18,000 worth of wine per crate. A


six box is about �3,000 a bottle. James Constantinou is storing


�500,000 worth of wine down here. These bottles of Bordeaux are not


his to drink. James is a pawnbroker, he set up three years ago. Lending


not just to individuals but to companies, struggling in the


downturn. 30% of the time they haven't been able to source funding


for their business side of things, so they are looking for funding


that they are going to pump into their business. So they may be


borrowing the money as a private individual, but they are using it


for business purposes. Those customers have included a


restaurant, pawning its wine collection to pay bills and wages.


Back above ground, a petrolhead's dream. All pawns are locked up for


safe keeping. A high-end sports car, or a plane gold ring, the


transaction is the same. If you don't pay on time, your item will


be sold, or melted down to cover the debt. Mark Landsberg runs his


own IT business, he handed over the keys to his Porsche last month, to


raise �20,000 to pay a looming tax bill.


Why not go to a bank and get a straight loan? Forget t the banks


are useless nowadays. You can't get money out of a bank for business


unless it is made of solid gold, and you have more assets than you


are borrowing. Pawning his car meant no credit check and little


paperwork, the cash was in his account hours later. Interest


charges on a loan like this go from 2% a month, right up to 7%. Do you


worry about the stigma attached to pawnbroking, does it send a message


out to people you do business with, that there's something wrong?


is the same question you could have asked my mother 20 years ago about


credit cards and higher purchase. She never had those in her life


because of the associated stigma. The bank loan you can't get for a


month. They want a year out of you, and there is penalties if you want


to pay back early. You haven't got the flexibility, if you like.


Those same trends, same market forces, are even more obvious on


the high streets. With banks not lending, pawnbrokers have quickly


filled the gap. 200 have soped this year alone, the real growth --


opened this year alone, the real growth story of the credit crunch.


Three of those new stores belong to one of the oldest names in the


business. Fish Brothers, first opened its


doors almost two centuries ago. This, though, is how it looks today,


all modern counters and slick marketing. A redesign this year,


meant to make it look less Victorian money-lender, more high


street bank. These are a pawnbrokers right hand equipment,


these were still in use when I started. This is a fifth generation


worker in the business. The business was about to die, and now


he has seen it grow at its strongest rate in more than a


century. The recession has affected middle-classes, that has affected


pawn brokers because the middle- classes are using us in a way they


never have before. Our average loan over the last four or five years


has gone up, I think, by a factor of six. Wages haven't risen, and


people have accepted the fact that they haven't got a wage rise, but


they still have a job. A lot of firms are hanging in there, and


holding on to as many people as they can, and the result of that is,


people's income is being squeezed. I wondered if you could tell me how


much you could give me for those on pawning, please? Not a problem.


Today I have come in to pawn some coins, a sovereign which my father


gave me for my 21st birthday, a Kruger and a coin I received on his


death when he died, and a gold $10 coin, so I can buy some gas bottles


to heat my flat. I want enough to heat my flat for the next month,


and maybe some Christmas presents if people are lucky.


Jeanine is a regular here, as well as new clients, Fish Brothers is


seeing its traditional customers, borrowing larger amounts. On those


ones we can do �1800 on those coins. The rising price of gold has made


the coins more valuable. 90% of customers like this repay their


loans own time, and get their pawned items back. Without pawning,


without that money you get from here, what would happen? I wouldn't


be able to buy the gas bottles until I next get paid, Will which


will be at least another two weeks. I would have two weeks without


heating. Is there no other option to get money, if it is not this,


what is the implication? There is no other choice, really. I wouldn't


go to my family for money, for a gas bottle. I would rather use what


I have got myself, and raise the money that way. Then pay it back


when I get paid. Why not go to your family, or your mum? They are


pensioners. They are feeling tough times as well. For many, the


pawnbroker is not just a quick solution. Would you like an


envelope? It is now the only choice. But, at 5-6% interest, every month,


it could never be described as cheap.


Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.


Whichever way you look at it, pawnbroking is not a cheap option,


it is an expensive way to borrow money? It is if you are doing it


long-term, I'm talking about years. If you are talking about months,


which is what pawnbroking is actually aimed at, then it is an


expense -- it isn't expensive. Don't you rely on repeat customers,


don't the people you speak about come back again and again, and it


is all short-term loan, when you add them up they are expensive?


They haven't got a bank account, and if you come to the pawnbroker,


they are into a totally regulated These are incredible survivals.


Someone has pawned a pair of boots. They have got two shillings for


that. And even more poignant, I think, is that there is a ticket


here of someone in 1907, who has pawned a blanket. One shilling and


sixpence. Look at the date, 9th of December, in the cold mid-winter


they are having to pawn their blanket, really tragic ticket.


You have to go back a long way to find the last time pawnbrokers


played such a major role in British life. At the turn of the last


century, there were more than 700 in London, one on almost every


street corner of the East End. was like a buffer for working


people, without this support probably people would have starved,


actually. This actually gave them a little bit of money, week by week,


to the -- enable them to survive. Wages were very, very low at this


period, really, it was actually essential they found a way to get


some money to buy. Usually it was to buy food. Sometimes it is hard


to listen to some of the stories, they are pretty heart-breaking.


But on the other hand, I'm there to help them, in a sense. The back


room of Gemini Jewellers, on the Isle of Sheppey. Here pawnbroking


is still done the old fashioned way. The staff know all their customers,


privacy and discretion are an important part of the business. It


is busy, but few customers want to speak on camera. You do keep it


under wraps a bit. I quite enjoy it t I have come to know the girls


quite well over the few years I have been in. I have been in and


out, got it out, put it back. Like today, I have come out and got it


all out. I most probably be back in the new year, pawning again. But,


you know, there is stigma and there isn't stigma about it. I could


never tell my family that I go to the pawn shop.


In the beginning when I first worked here, we had a very small


box of pawnbroking, it has got now to three safes full of pawnbroking.


We know most people, they come and start talking to you, and they will


say their husband has lost their job. It is ever day living, that is


-- every day living, that is why they pawn their jewellery, because


they can't afford to live. We might not be pawning our boots and


blankets to get through this crisis, but more of us are turning to


something we can touch, something real. To make ends meet. I'm joined


by the Labour MP, Stella Creasy, who has campaigned for the


financial conduct authority to be given wide-ranging powers to cap


the cost of cred di. And by Ray Perry from the -- credit, and by


Ray Perry from the National Pawnbrokers Association. People


can't get credit from the bank, isn't it best they go to the


pawnbrokers, rather than some shadey back street money lender?


Nobody is suggesting people go to illegal lenders. Most other


countries cap the cost of credit, and they have lower levels of


illegal lending and lower levels of personal debt. The Government has


sat on this market for the last couple of years, watching British


families struggling. We know next year will get worse. We need to


tackle these, whether it is the payday loan industries or the


higher purchase agreements, they are all scraming British consumers.


Look at Fish there, daily interest rates, surely there should be some


kind of cap? The daily interest rate is a legal requirement. They


have to express a legal daily interest rate. Most pawnbrokers


think of months, the average loan is typically about a month-and-a-


half. They are not really thinking about loans that should last a year


or more than that. What do you say to the accusation that it is all


about payday loans as well, and the pawnbroking side of it lures people


in to then be involved in payday loan, you have actually amalgamated


the old tradition of pawnbroking with payday loans, very much a


feature of these unstable times? is like if you go shopping in


Tescos, there is a range of products in there available to the


customer. They have that choice. Obviously I would say pawnbroking


is better, it gives a better interest rate, and you are


borrowing in a sense against itself. Why do so many pawnbrokers in


Waltham stow ring them back with payday loans when they come into


the shop. Surely you are pushing people into ways of borrowing that


are unsustainable? In terms of pawnbroking I don't know who you


are referring to, but pawnbroking is providing a good service. It is


providing a means for somebody to get credit. Pawnbrokers are


offering loans on �50,000 H & T, how is that a good service, it is


due to be paid back in six months, that is �2,000 of interest if it is


paid back in six months. I spoke to them, they put it there to attract


business people, they do two of those a year. We don't necessarily


need to talk about those examples. What you are talking about �50,000


loans, it is interesting. This whole idea that you saw there, that


the entrepeneur there that had to pawn is Porsche, he was saying


there was no stigma. That is a different thing. This is just part


and parcel of the economic situation we are in, where people


have short-term jobs, people maybe can't get money from the bank. They


need the pawnbroker. What that businessman proved is a damning


indictment of Project Merlin, supposed to be lending to small


businesss in this country. If we are lending in ways that push


people into further debt, it is not good for them or the economy. It is


the same with pawnbroking, that should be one of the cheapest forms


of lending because they are secured against an item, the interest rates


you charge bear no more interest to the British economy than payday


lending. The Money-- A few programmes looked at the issue and


said that pawnbroking on a typical one-month loan was cheaper than


other options, and the OFT did a report saying the same last week.


The argument seems to be that you do not have regulation that exists


in other European countries, capping the cost of a loan. Would


that not actually be a reasonable way to proceed, if you want


pawnbroking, as it were, to become, not that it is illegitimate, but a


more legitimate, unstigmatised form of credit? I'm not saying that


Stella may have a point in some cases. You know, there is extreme,


and indeed there are illegal loan sharks out there, I certainly do


not condone that. From the association's point of view,


wouldn't it benefit you to be prepared to take a cap on the cost


of a loan? I suppose the obvious question would be what is that cap


F it's at a certain level, people won't enter the business. It is, at


the end of the day a business proposition to loan money. If it is


too low. All these other countries have caps on the cost of credit,


and they have pawnbroking and payday lending. Let's talk about


the interest rates you are talking about, the Which? Study showed


pawnbroking interest rates go between 90% and 290%, nobody here


watching will think that is a low- interest loan? People watching


tonight will know it will be a short-term loan, up to six weeks.


Why do 20% of customers don't pay back in time and have to roll over


or lose the item? It is 12%. official figures are that, I will


listen to them? You can't role over a pawnbroking loan, you are loaning


against a particular item, it is your item. The worst that can


happen is you lose the item. websites for Fish Brothers says


clearly they will offer you the opportunity to extend the terms of


the loan, what is that if it is not rolling it over? It is starting a


new loan, you can't stop somebody coming back another time with


another item. Let's be honest, Stella Creasy, for lots of people n


a sense, what you are doing now is further stigmatising it, as it were.


For pom some people who don't have a bank account, pawnbroking is


something that is facing you in the high street, there is regulation


and further regulation in 2014, it is a legitimate form of credit?


Absolutely, we do nothing to stigmatise people, we are trying to


help them. We stand outside companies like Fish Brothers and


Cash Converters, all 18 of them in Walthamstow, and helping people to


access the Credit Union and get good financial advice. I won't stop


people borrowing to put food on the table, people will doing that in


this country, and nas next year will be worse when energy and food


prices go up, and you guys will make millions unless we as


politicians do something about it. Let's be clear, pawnbroking is


legitimate? It is, it is covered by the game governance as banks.


Presumably you do risk analysis, presumably you think you are really


in a growth business, as long as the banks won't lend and there is


problems there, you think you are a growth business? I think the OFT


are right when they say it is another form of borrowing money,


what is the difference between going to a bank and a pawnbroker,


the bank will charge you for more an overdraft, but not declared as


part of an APR. We have to stop there. Russia and America are


engaged in a new tit for tat battle, after President Putin accused the


US of poisoning relations between the two countries, and today


threatened to ban Americans from adopting Russian children. The


stand-off began over the called Magnitsky List, a law of that name,


recently signed by President Obama l ban from the US those associated


with the detention and death in a Moscow jail of Sergeir Magnitsky,


who uncovered a $230 million fraud perpetrate bid Russian officials.


Putin has promised a reaction. It was his first major press


conference since his third term as President, and he was in hawkish


move. President Obama signing a declaration to freeze assets and


denying American visas for certain Russians. He said he supported a


proposal by the lower house, Americans prevented from adopting


Russian children. TRANSLATION: regards this very topic you have


touched upon now, the adoption of our children by foreign citizens,


as far as I know the results of the opinion polls, the majority of


Russian citizens have a negative attitude towards such practices. We


should be able to cope with this which ourselves. According to the


White House, there are 700,000 registered orphans in Russia,


100,000 in institutional care. In 2011, 3,400 of these children were


adopted by foreign families. Of those, nearly a third, 956 children


were adopted by Americans. It is an issue that has angered many


Russians, sensitive to the implication that they must be hard-


hearted or unable to take care of their own. The resentment was made


worse by stories of the ill- treatment of some Russian children


in the US. A child died after being locked in a car in the heat. And in


2010, an American woman sent back a seven-year-old Russian boy,


complaining he had behavioural problems she didn't want him any


more. But Americans were furious that idea of a ban on Russian


children. It means they will remain in care. Data shows us that


Russians are not inclined to adopt them, the polling data shows that


the majority of Russians support intercountry adoption. It is hard


to deny children are not being used as political pawns. This is not


just a row about children, the Russians are furious that the


Magnitsky Act, named in response to a Russian lower, Sergei Magnitsky


who died in jail in 2009, he was about to go on trial for fraud.


Sergei Magnitsky had alleged that a circle of tax and registry


officials had conspired in a $230 million fraud scheme. The Magnitsky


Act normalises trade relations with Russia, but allows officials to be


bared from the US, if they are involved in ruption or human rights


abuses. Putin's response went -- corruption or human rights abuses.


Putin's went beyond. He said they would draw up a list of their own


of Americans banned for human rights violations. TRANSLATION:


have already talking about this, Abu Ghraib, very much talked about


in the world. Guantanamo prison, they keep people there for many


years, without any crimes, any charges. Even as if in the middle-


age, they legaliseed tortures. Just imagine that we have something like


this in our country. They will eat us. The Magnitsky Act has clearly


not helped Russian-American diplomacy, but President Putin was


claiming today, it has poisoned relations between the two sides.


Even so, there are growing pressures here in Britain, that a


variety of the acts should be introduced here, to stop corrupt


Russian officials, and those involved in human rights abuses,


coming to London to spend their money.


It is about make sure that where you have individuals, responsible


for torture, and some of the other most heinous crimes, they are not


just free to Waltz into this country, buy up property, or do a


bit of light Christmas shopping on the kings road. Why starting Russia,


there are human rights abusers all around the world? That is a God


point. And when the House of Commons unanimously called for this


kind of law back in March, they said we wanted to see it all around


the globe. Before becoming low, the measure banning Russian children


being adopted by Americans, has to pass a third read anything the


State Duma. After that it goes to the Upper House, then it requires


President Putin's signature. Some of his ministers are known to be


against it, regarding it as eye- for-eye logic, but Putin's angry


speech today suggests they could be overruled.


Alexander Nekrassov is a journalist and former Kremlin adviser. In


Washington, we have the head of the Russia time at the Eurasia Group at


this tang. Do you think this has the make -- think-tank. Do you


think this has the makings of a serious row? When you start to ban


American citizens from adopting Russian children. It is a little


bit over the stop. If we had mutual blacklists going on, that is what


everybody expects. But the Kremlin has gone a step too far, Americans


are taking it personally it is a danger that it will spill over into


the range of national security and range of mutual interests that the


United States and Russia have. is a long way down the line, we


think, because, as was said, this has to be signed off eventually by


Vladimir Putin. Now, he was sounding pretty toughed today, but


do you think he will take this all -- tough today, but do you think he


will take this all the way? I think he will, the Kremlin is very angry


that the United States have selected a specific one country,


accusing its officials of corruption and human rights abuse.


But without, for example, what about China, what about Saudi


Arabia, what about Bahrain, there are many countries. The official


there is are travelling freely to the west. This is the point that


the Kremlin is making. This is hypocrisy. Because you are picking


out one country, on the basis of one incident, where no-one has any


firm proof, yet, that these people were guilty. No, but Magnitsky did


uncover the fraud. He did uncover the fraud. But there is still a


question over who actually was involved in the events leading to


his murder. Cliff Kupchan, the question of this list, importantly,


it calls for freezing of assets. Now, without firm proof, you know,


can America go about freezing the assets of Russian citizens?


firm proof, there is very little attempt by the Russians to look


into what happened to Mr Magnitsky. The President called for an


investigation and nothing really happened. In fact, further charges


have been brought against Mr Magnitsky, posthumously. This is a


very unfortunate affair. I think that it also very much got involved,


we haven't talked about the other half of the coin here, the other


half of the story, which is that this Magnitsky Bill, was linked to


legislation, that allowed American companies to take advantage of


Russia's WTO accession, which Russia very, very badly wanted.


There was a quid pro quo in American politics. This will very


much promote US-Russia trade, but on the other hand it will carry it


along, because Congress insisted that human rights be addressed, it


carried along this much more controversial act. First of all,


the argument that the President and the Putin didn't investigate it


properly. Your country didn't investigate the war in Iraq


properly, you can go down this road and never stop. The point here is


this, this is an act, which has this poisonous element in it, and


they are accusing people of something that hasn't been proven,


and, and, freezing other people's assets, the citizens of another


country. This can open a floodgate that such thing nobody can stop


them. In the Kremlin, behind the facade of the Kremlin, is there a


lot of saber-rattling going on, or do you think it will be resolved?


think that Putin will sign that bill. I think that it will stay


there. I don't think that economically, business-wise, we


will have problems. I think it will develop. But the stand-off will


continue, obviously. Just talking, and picking up now what President


Putin said earlier, in terms of spilling over into other elements


of relations. Let's talk about, for example, relations over Syria,


relations over Iran, do you think the Russians will, there was some


accord, we thought there was going to be some meeting of minds on this,


do you think there will be a firming of attitudes on this?


think there will be problems. Syria will be obviously, they won't agree


on Syria at the moment, and Iran as well. But this particular case, I


don't think it influences that. Clearly, Cliff Kupchan, the fact is,


the Americans are prepared for a backlash? The Americans are


prepared for a backlash. And I don't think that one particular


issue can become compartmentalised. That is the great fear here. That


the road to settling the Iranian nuclear crisis leads through Moscow


and Syria it leads through Moscow. We have serious differences on


National Missile Defence. If, indeed, Mr Putin signs this bill, I


happen to think there is a good chance he won't, he left himself a


big, big trap door in the conference today. In the news


conference. His own Foreign Minister has condemned it, the head


of the Upper House has condemned it. The minister in charged of


implementing it has condemned it. In your view, do you think that


behind the scenes, there is a lot of negotiation and diplomacy going


on? I actually think Mr Putin got out over his skis here. I think


that they floated an idea within his party, United Russia, everybody


got behind it, I don't think they expected the huge backlash when his


own Government to, especially the adoption provision. I think they


will both back down. Just time for the papers. The front page of the


That's all tonight, we will be here with more tomorrow. Until then,


with more tomorrow. Until then, good night.


Weather warnings are still afoot across the north-east. Particularly


eastern Scotland, through the night, and into Friday as well. Some


pretty horrendous weather around, we could have further flooding


problems. A little bit of mist and fog elsewhere. It could stay grey


for the east coast of England for much of the day. It does look dryer


than we have seen during the last 24 hours. That is not to say river


level won't continue to increase, all that rain needs to make its way


down stream. At least it is dryer weather-wise for Friday. If you are


travelling stay tuned to the forecast. We have more wet and


windy weather to come as we move into the weekend. A dryer day for


Wales, the south west, a dryer day for Northern Ireland, it could be a


bit murky first thing, that will take time to clear. As we move back


into Scotland, we come back into the weather system, which will


still be affecting northern and eastern areas. Not just heavy winds.


Snow over the Grampians. Into Saturday, more rain makes its way


right across the country. That is Friday into Saturday, another amber


warning from the Met Office is in force as there is an amber warning


out for the night and tomorrow. You can see that is also the same for


Saturday, further south through London, Cardiff, Birmingham and


As the plebgate story refuses to die, have police/government relations hit a new low? How pawnbrokers are the growth story of the credit crunch. And why President Putin thinks Russia's relations with America are being poisoned.

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