A group of Russian businessmen calling itself the International Anti-Corruption Committee is creating a list of 50 corrupt government officials and plans to present proof that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stole hundreds of millions of dollars, London's The Sunday Times reported Sunday.
The committee is composed of wealthy Russian businessmen who have fled to London after being pursued by Russian authorities, the newspaper wrote, Radio Liberty reported.
Former general manager of construction firm Moskonversprom Valery Morozov, who moved to London this month, is a leading member of the group, the newspaper wrote. Morozov told the newspaper that a bureaucrat from Putin's inner circle attempted to blackmail him. The report did not specify the names of the other group members.
Morozov keeps a blog on the website of Snob magazine, in which he writes about government corruption. In his most recent entry, published on the site Saturday, Morozov describes incidents of alleged embezzlement in construction projects financed by Olimpstroi, the federal corporation responsible for building facilities for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
Other prominent Russian businessmen who have criticized authorities after fleeing to Britain in the face of criminal charges against them include Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, former Yevroset co-owner Yevgeny Chichvarkin and former Bank of Moscow head Andrei Borodin.
Berezovsky, who has lived in exile in London since 2000 after a conflict with Putin, published an open letter Sunday in which he said Putin would be breaking with the Constitution by becoming president for a third term, citing a disputed clause that states one person cannot be president for more than two terms in a row. In the letter, Berezovsky argues that Putin's participation in the upcoming presidential election makes the vote illegitimate and urges Putin's opponents in the race not to participate.
During a live call-in show last month, Putin made reference to self-exiled businessmen, saying "We know who went to London and why they aren't coming back."