Shadow transport minister Sam Tarry said the Government has awarded £15 million to electric bus manufacturer Arrival, founded and run by Denis Sverdlov.
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Labour claims £15million of taxpayers cash has been handed to one of Vladimir Putin’s ‘closest allies’ to put his firm’s eco-friendly buses on British streets despite UK targeting regime with sanctions over Ukraine war

  • Labour said £15m had been awarded to electric bus manufacturer Arrival
  • Firm founded and run by Denis Sverdlov, briefly a Russian deputy minister
  • Labour said he was ‘close ally’ of Putin, something the company denies 

Labour accused ministers of handing millions in taxpayers cash to a firm run by one of Vladimir Putin’s ‘closest allies’ today, despite targeting his inner circle with sanctions linked to the Ukraine war.  

Shadow transport minister Sam Tarry said the Government has awarded £15 million to electric bus manufacturer Arrival, founded and run by Denis Sverdlov.

The businessman was briefly a Russian deputy minister of communications and mass media before moving to the UK and setting up the Bicester-based firm in 2015.

Speaking during a session of transport questions in the House of Commons, Mr Tarry said the company had been given cash from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (Zebra).

It is designed to help local transport authorities outside of London introduce zero-emission buses.

Arrival, which is listed on the US Nasdaq stock exchange, said today that its CEO had ‘never had a personal relationship’ with Putin and had no further involvement with the Russian government after leaving his deputy minister role in 2013.

Shadow transport minister Sam Tarry said the Government has awarded £15 million to electric bus manufacturer Arrival, founded and run by Denis Sverdlov.

Shadow transport minister Sam Tarry said the Government has awarded £15 million to electric bus manufacturer Arrival, founded and run by Denis Sverdlov.

The businessman was briefly a Russian deputy minister of communications and mass media before moving to the UK and setting up the Bicester-based firm in 2015.

The businessman was briefly a Russian deputy minister of communications and mass media before moving to the UK and setting up the Bicester-based firm in 2015.

Speaking during a session of transport questions in the House of Commons, Mr Tarry said the company had been given cash from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (Zebra)

Speaking during a session of transport questions in the House of Commons, Mr Tarry said the company had been given cash from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (Zebra)

Speaking about Arrival in the Commons today, Mr Tarry said:  ‘It’s run by… Denis Sverdlov, one of President Putin’s closest allies, and will see their buses on the streets of the UK, sanctioned by this Government.

‘This Government is supposed to have sanctioned everyone connected to the Russian government as a result of the horrific war in the Ukraine, so I’ve got one simple question: why are millions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money being handed to one of Putin’s own nomenklatura?

‘This isn’t bus back better, this is buses straight to Russia.’     

Nomenklatura were people appointed to influential positions in communist countries.

In response, Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘I’m more than happy to raise the issue that the shadow minister raises with my honourable friend the bus minister in the other place (the House of Lords), and we will certainly look into the details of what he alleges.’

The Government has targeted a wave of rich individuals and companies associated with Putin and his regime since February’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Last week Britain added Vladimir Putin’s younger lover and his his ex-wife to its Ukraine sanctions list. Alina Kabaeva, 39, a retired Olympic gymnast believed to be the depot’s mistress, was subjected to economic restrictions alongside Lyudmila Ocheretnaya, who was married to the tyrant, 69, until 2014. 

An Arrival spokeswoman said: ‘Regarding comments on Denis Sverdlov’s relationship with President Putin – he has never had a personal relationship with the President. 

‘Denis worked as deputy minister in the wider government over a one-year period, implementing reforms within the telecoms industry. In August 2013, Denis left his position to return to the private sector and pursue his passion for disruptive technologies.

‘He has been living in London with his family for over seven years where he founded Arrival. He has had no further involvement with the Russian government since leaving his deputy minister role. We will be writing to the shadow minister to confirm these details today.’

She added: ‘Arrival, like all companies, has rightly been scrutinised as part of the current sanctions; but no government jurisdiction in the world has sanctioned or criticised Arrival’s operations.’

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