Nigel Farage has set himself from the over-whelming majority of people involved in British politics by showing some sympathy for the Russian oligarchs facing sanctions for their alleged close links to Vladamir Putin.
Countries across the world have seized the assets and restricted the travel of a small band of wealthy elites linked to the Kremlin to squeeze Russia for its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
After weeks of pressure, the UK government on Thursday sanctioned Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich in Boris Johnson’s most high-profile crackdown on oligarchs who have increasingly become part of British life in the last two decades. The Russian-Israeli billionaire, who made his fortune in the 1990s, has always strongly denied ties to Putin.
The government has cross-party support for the action, and has even faced criticism for not acting soon enough and sanctioning enough people, as Russia has been accused of war crimes and forced potentially millions of Ukrainians to flee their homeland.
But on his show on GB News on Thursday, the Brexit figurehead and friend of Donald Trump suggested ministers were not going about things the right way.
“I am beginning to ask myself the question – what are we trying to do?,” he said.
“I guess what we’re doing is we are trying to turn the rich Russian oligarchs against president Putin. That’s the game, I think, the government are engaged in.
“And yet, is it right to effectively seize people’s assets without any form ... any sense of due process.
“And will it really turn Russians against Vladimir Putin?
“I am concerned about the way in which this is being done.”
Farage got immediate pushback from guest Theo Paphitis, the entrepreneur and former chairman of Millwall FC.
“There’s no due process about moving into Ukraine and bombing innocent civilians,” he said.
When facing criticism for delays in sanctioning oligarchs, government officials stressed work was being undertaken to build the legal cases.
“It made no sense to poke the Russian bear with a stick,” he said.