Downing Street’s announcement of sanctions on seven oligarchs descended into farce after they were forced to delete a tweet which wrongly identified one of them as the former Russian president.
The Oligarch Taskforce – part of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – was set up in response to the growing backlash about the lack of sanctions against people linked to Vladimir Putin in the UK.
Announcing a fresh wave of measures on Twitter from the FCDO account, the taskforce declared that Dmitri Lebedev was now sanctioned by the UK too.
However, it attached a photo of Dmitri Medvedev, the former Russian president, instead.
Medvedev presided over Russia between 2008 and 2012, and was seen as significantly more liberal than his successor Putin, although he is still part of the Kremlin, serving as the deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia.
Lebedev is the Bank Rossiya Chairman of the Board of Directors and an ex-KGB officer.
TV critic Toby Earle described the mix-up as “absolutely mortifying” and a “shambles” after the mistake was highlighted by Channel 4′s Jonathan Rugman.
A few hours later, a new image has been issued on Twitter which does not feature Lebedev’s face.
The prime minister has denied that he ignored security concerns when he decided to hand Lebedev a peerage.