London Mayor Boris Johnson called on Russian tycoons to sue each other in the city to bring in money for its residents.
"I would never encourage anyone to sue, but if one oligarch feels defamed by another oligarch, it is London's lawyers who apply the necessary balm to the ego," he told the Confederation of British Industry's annual conference Monday, according to a transcript on the organization's website. "And it is those ruble-fueled refreshers and retainers that find their way into the pockets of chefs and waiters and doormen … and keep the wheels of the economy turning."
Johnson said revenues generated by the lawsuits would "put bread on the tables of some of the poorest and hardest-working families in the city."
He also urged the wives of billionaires to sue their husbands in London if they wished to do so.
"I have no shame in saying to the injured spouses of the world's billionaires if you want to take him to the cleaners, take him to the cleaners in London," the mayor said. "Because London cleaners will be grateful for your business."
Currently, the House of Lords is considering a bill that requires the plaintiff to show that the U.K. is clearly the most appropriate place to bring a case, Businessweek reported. Ken Clarke, then justice secretary, said in March 2011 that the bill was intended to stop U.S. citizens from suing U.S. publications in London.
"We are trying to dissuade libel tourism on a point of principle," Prime Minister David Cameron's spokeswoman, Vickie Sheriff, said.