A Russian billionaire linked to a luxury hotel in Cheltenham has urged the West not to be afraid of Vladimir Putin. Dr Boris Mints is the settlor of MF Trust, owner of Lethendy Estates Limited.
The company announced last week that four of its English hotels are opening their doors to Ukrainian refugees in light of its war with Putin’s Russia. Those who have fled the conflict will be allowed to stay in hotels for free.
They include the DoubleTree by Hilton, formerly the Cheltenham Park Hotel, in Cirencester Road, Charlton Kings. Dr Mints, who lives in a Scottish castle, said last week that the war was “the most tragic event of the 21st century to date” and that his family “condemns the actions of Putin’s regime in Ukraine”.
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This followed earlier comments he made in an interview with Scottish tabloid The Sunday Mail. The businessman and philanthropist was named to Forbes’ billionaires list in 2017 before dropping it off a year later.
Previously seen as a key ally of Putin, he denies any connection to the Russian leader and said the rationale for the invasion was “barefaced lies”. Speaking to the publication through a translator, he called for new measures to stop the war.
He said, “The West not only should, but must stop being afraid. If we do not act, we will be outside observers of manifestations of anarchy, of the death of innocent people and therefore, to some extent, complicit in it.
“The history of the Second World War has shown the tragic consequences of a war both for the countries initially involved and for those who initially tried to maintain the status of outside observers. Today, the same fate awaits us, if we act as mere observers.
A father of four, Dr Mints and his family live in exile and divide their time between London and his baronial castle in Perthshire, Lethendy’s Tower in Meikleour. He bought the 39-acre estate, which has its own golf course, in 2016 through a family trust.
The property was reportedly at the center of a legal attempt by the Putin regime to recover interests linked to Dr Mints, who was born in Rybnitsa, Moldova. He is a member of the board of directors of the Russian Jewish Congress and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, which represents the Jewish people of more than 100 countries.
He added: “He [the invasion] is the most tragic event of the 21st century to date, equivalent to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. It’s worth noting how similar the “apologies” are for invasions then and now today, both of which are based on outright lies.
“In my view, this is a display of impunity – in this case expressed in the most aggressive form. After Putin’s speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, Russia has repeatedly carried out actions that flagrantly violate the norms of international law, but without any significant negative consequences.
“If it is possible to annex Crimea without punishment, according to this logic, the same can happen to the whole of Ukraine and so on.” The businessman rose to prominence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and had ties to former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin.
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It was reported he was fighting extradition to his home country and fled to the UK in 2018 on charges of embezzlement in Russia. But Dr Mints denied he was at risk of extradition and said Interpol had rejected Russia’s requests for his arrest.
In 2018, he was one of 210 Russian personalities on the US Treasury Department’s “Putin list”. However, his relations with the Russian regime have reportedly deteriorated and he claims to have no ties to Putin or his regime.