Friday 11 March: Hunkered in GBH bunker, aiding Operation Purify. Mipim? Not going now, don’t care! I’m chalking up house points as a member of Operation Purify, trusted employees scouring The Stain of Putin from GBH.
Not easy. The 50-strong Moscow office has been fronted for 25 years by Dimitry, a cheery hulk with a polysyllable surname who too often winked about his “close ties to the Kremlin”.
He flew by private jet to GBH global headquarters in Atlanta on day one of the war, carrying thumb drives detailing deals never registered on the GBH global servers. Orders from Atlanta came through to us on Monday. First, assemble list of Ultimate Beneficial Owners, if known, on any deals since 2006. Second, make sure the ‘know your client’ boxes on all paperwork are ticked. If not, warn Atlanta. Third, get PR dept to prepare brush-off statements in case journalists call.
Why me on the A-team? I was a Mipim virgin in 2006. I met this guy from the Tartar capital of Kazan. He was surrounded by a bevy of what he called “hot girls” wearing sky-blue silk dresses barely covering their modesty. Kompromat is an ugly word.
However, post Mipim, I felt obliged to fudge the ‘know your client’ details on a few deals. Nothing big. Word got around Kazan. I got to know a few more Russians. Those were the days, my friend.