Legatum Institute

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People: https://www.li.com/about/people

Special Trade Commission

The Legatum Institute's Special Trade Commission was created in the wake of the EU Referendum vote. Its purpose is to "understand and guide the process that the UK and other govts are engaged in as a result of the Brexit referendum." The STC aims to present a roadmap for the many trade negotiations which the UK will need to undertake now. It seeks to re-focus the public discussion on Brexit to a positive conversation on opportunities, rather than challenges, while presenting empirical evidence of the dangers of not following an expansive trade negotiating path. IOW, a lobby group for neoliberalism.[2]

  • "The world not only wants, but expects UK to lead." Shanker Singham, Chairman, Special Trade Commission and Sir Lockwood Smith, former High Commissioner, New Zealand, speaking at the LI 2017 Conference.[3]
  • UK Trade Policy > Unilateral: "Tariff reducation and elimination" + "Domestic regulatory reform".[2]


Alan Oxley

Managing Director, ITS Global, Consultants on Global Issues, Australia; former diplomat. Alan OxleyWikipedia-W.svg, ITS Global page, World Growth Institute (World Growth InstituteWikipedia-W.svg), ECIPE (ECIPEWikipedia-W.svg).

Francisco Sanchez

Chairman, CNS Global Advisors; former Under Secretary for International Trade (Obama administration). Frank SanchezWikipedia-W.svg, Chairman of CNS Global Advisors page, Pt Capital (firm concentrating on investment opportunities in the Arctic), Go Scale Capital (technology fund based in Hong Kong), Overseas Private Investment CorporationWikipedia-W.svg, Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations

Grant Aldonas

Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); former Under Secretary for International Trade (Bush administration), Transparency International (US), Overseas Private Investment Corporation, founder-MD of Split Rock International (Washington-based trade and investment consulting firm), Center for International Private Enterprise, Global Fairness Initiative, Wp mentions, CSIS page

John Weekes

Senior Business Adviser at the Canadian law firm Bennett Jones; former Canadian Chief Negotiator for NAFTA, Ambassador to the WTO and Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Bennett Jones page, Institute of Economic Affairs, Advisory Centre on World Trade Organization Law (Advisory Centre on World Trade Organization LawWikipedia-W.svg), APCO Worldwide (APCO WorldwideWikipedia-W.svg), Cordell Hull Institute (Cordell Hull InstituteWikipedia-W.svg).

Luis de la Calle

Founding Partner and Managing Director, De la Calle, Madrazo, & Mancera, Mexico; former Undersecretary of International Business Negotiations, Ministry of Economy in Mexico; former Minister of Trade Issues, Mexican Embassy, Washington, DC. Wp mentions

Sir Lockwood Smith

Former New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK; Former Speaker of New Zealand's Parliament; Former New Zealand Trade Minister. Lockwood SmithWikipedia-W.svg

Razeen Sally

Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; Chairman, Institute of Policy Studies, Sri Lanka; former Chair, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness. Wp mentions

Past Commissioners

Alden Abbott
Deputy Director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at theHeritage Foundation, and John, Barbara, and Victoria Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow, Heritage Foundation, USA; former Director of Antitrust Policy, Federal Trade Commission; Legatum Fellow. nixWikipedia-W.svg, LI page, LI page2


  • May.30.2018: Legatum Institute calls time on its EU research. The Legatum Institute is to end its work on Brexit after months of controversy over the think tank’s influence on govt policy. In the past few weeks it has severed links with Matthew Elliott, who ran the Vote Leave campaign and was hired as a senior fellow last year. His departure follows that of Shanker Singham who left in Mar.2018 to take up a role with the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs. Senior sources at Legatum said that the departure of the two men would allow the think tank to move on from its Brexit work and allegations that its chief patron had links to the Russian govt. The change in direction has been orchestrated by the Dubai-based businessman Christopher Chandler, who has pumped £millions into the charity since it was established in 2007. He became concerned at the damage the institute’s hard Brexit stance was doing to his reputation after MPs used parliamentary privilege to claim that he had been a Russian agent. The former Labour minister Liam Byrne said in the House of Commons that Mr Chandler was running an “important think tank that has enjoyed unrivalled access to ministers”. The organisation, which is run by Baroness Stroud, is also facing an investigation by the Charities Commission into whether it has become overtly political and should lose its charitable status. Pro-European MPs had long been critical of the access gained to govt by Mr Singham and Legatum, who held at least 7 meetings with ministers and officials including Liam Fox and Michael Gove. Oliver Wright, The Times.
  • https://twitter.com/Hayleeee1848/status/906256791562014720
  • https://twitter.com/Hayleeee1848/status/906262351665651714
  • Jun.01.2018: Legatum Institute think tank abused charity status to push its Brexit politics. Legatum has been found guilty of abusing its charitable status by pursuing a hard Brexit agenda that violated its legal obligation to maintain “balance and neutrality”. The Charity Commission said the Legatum Institute had “crossed a clear line” in a report it published on the potential for free trade deals after Britain left the EU. The commission said the report was “not consistent with the charity’s objects to advance education” and could be seen to be promoting a particular “political view”. Alan McCormick, Legatum’s chairman of trustees, said the charity would take down the report but that it stood by its view that “free trade and free enterprise have done more to lift people out of poverty than any other system”. Oliver Wright, {{{website}}}.
  • Apr.01.2018: Hard Brexit group has ‘special access’ to trade ministers. Concerns that the Legatum Institute, the libertarian thinktank that advocates a hard Brexit, is playing a behind-the-scenes role in shaping Britain’s future trade policy have been heightened after claims that it has enjoyed greater private access to trade ministers and civil servants than any other body. Newly released figures show that, in the last quarter of 2017, members of the institute had 5 one-on-one meetings with the Department for International Trade. Three of its meetings were with Trade minister Greg Hands, and two were with Antonia Romeo, the department’s permanent secretary. All with Hands were listed as “to discuss the development of UK trade policy”. Those with Romeo were listed as “update on thinktank”. Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said its attempts under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain even rudimentary information about the 14 working groups set up by Liam Fox, international trade secretary, to plan for the future trade policy had been rejected. “It’s incredible that while MPs and representative groups have no right to know what’s going on in trade discussions our government is having with Trump’s administration, an extreme free trade, hard Brexit thinktank has such privileged access to government ministers,” Dearden said. “The Legatum Institute is almost unknown to most people but recent data shows they’ve had far more meetings with trade ministers than any other organisation – including businesses. If you were ever concerned that our trade policy had been hijacked by a tiny group of extremists, here’s the proof.” Sondhya Gupta, senior campaigner at SumOfUs, which aims to check the power of corporations, said: “We’re letting the Fox guard the henhouse. Liam Fox seems to be rewriting UK trade policy behind closed doors – there’s no way of knowing whose interest that actually serves. As things stand corporate lobbyists get more of a say in the trade deals struck after Brexit than our MPs do.” Jamie Doward, The Guardian.
  • Mar.10.2018: Think-tank accused of trying to drive Theresa May towards a hard Brexit is left in turmoil after exodus of 6 top staff. ... Shanker Singham, director of economic policy; Cristina Odone, ex-Catholic Herald editor; Danny Kruger, former aide to David Cameron. We disclosed [last November] that Mrs May’s govt was effectively being held to ransom over Brexit by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who were being aided by the institute. Our disclosures led the Charity Commission to open an ongoing ‘compliance case’ to examine whether the Legatum’s trustees were running the charity in line with their stated objective of promoting education. ... Mr Singham left after being blocked from holding any more briefings with Ministers... reports that his closeness to Mr Johnson and Mr Gove had led to tension with Legatum Institute chief executive, Tory Baroness Philippa Stroud. It is the second exodus at the organisation in two years – up to half of its 20-strong staff left in a ‘purge’ when Baroness Stroud, a close ally of Brexit hardliner Iain Duncan Smith, took over in 2016. Her arrival led to the institute being described as ‘the hidden intellectual driving force behind the govt’s Brexit plans’. The Mail Online, Simon Walters


  • Dec.04.2017: Legatum In Big Trouble. The Charity Commission is investigating whether it really is the charity it claims to be. Zelo Street, Tim Fenton
  • Nov.28.2017: Legatum Institute. The Legatum Institute devises and promotes methods of conning the public to make them believe that extreme exploitative "free market" capitalism can help everyone rather than just helping a tiny elite of financial gangsters. Matthew Elliot was the director of Vote Leave. Danny Kruger is former chief speechwriter for David Cameron, chief leader writer at The Daily Telegraph and the director of research at the Centre for Policy Studies. Christine Odone is another former Centre for Policy Studies "research fellow". Philippa Stroud, Legatum’s CEO, founded the Centre for Social Justice alongside Iain Duncan-Smith, to whom she was a special adviser for the entirety of the 2010-2015 Tory/Lib Dem govt; in that role she was one of the architects of Universal Credit and other devastating cuts to welfare provision. Shanker Singham's interesting history of political and business connections is discussed by Peter Geoghegan in his Open Democracy article. Among Legatum’s fellows is think-tank hopper Tim Montgomorie, co-founder of ConservativeHome website and Centre for Social Justice. Another fellow is James Mumford. DuckSoap, '
  • Nov.27.2017: Legatum - OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY. Private Eye #1454 set out the links between the new régime at the Legatum Institute - a supposed think-tank and alleged charity, its major backer Christopher Chandler, and disaster capitalism as practised in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. As did Open Democracy. But yesterday's Mail on Sunday sent The Usual Suspects into meltdown. The MoS had tried to join up a few dots too far, but the story allowed Legatum’s cheerleaders on the right to... reveal the network of right-wing anti-EU paid droids. There was @MrRBourne Ryan Bourne at the Cato Institute; an ex-IEA and CPS bod now at the place founded as the "Charles Koch Institute". Then came @Wallaceme Mark Wallace of ConservativeHome - Matthew Elliott’s pal from the TPA. And @A_Liberty_Rebel. Pride of place has to go to @GuidoFawkes (Paul Staines) + his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Zelo Street, Tim Fenton
  • Nov.27.2017: How Legatum has written the hymn sheet for a Dirty Brexit. The open secret that Brexit is more about financial and environmental deregulation than immigration is confirmed by a Legatum briefing for City slickers. For once, there’s a public division between members of the 1%, with their two different approaches to global capitalism – one based on business, and one on risky, speculative finance. Former EU negotiator Miriam González Durántez commented that Legatum has unparalleled access[4] to Davis and Theresa May. The Mail on Sunday reported[5] that Legatum may be involved in a "plot to hijack Number 10".[6] The MoS also claims the ERG is using Legatum's resources to provide a "shadow civil service" on Brexit. Shanker Singham is director of Economic Policy and Prosperity Studies for the Special Trade Commission of Legatum. Singham reportedly holds regular meetings[7] with David Davis and Liam Fox.[8] Singham is lead author of "The Brexit Inflection Point: The Pathway to Prosperity" launched last week, in the company of Baron Howell of Guildford. There's more on Singham + Co. here.[9] The report makes it clear that the Brexit division centres on regulation, eg. the limits placed on finance capital, and on the destruction of the natural environment; this is about profit-making. He also argued that Brexit could break the EU's regulatory regime across the continent. Some among the 1% want strong and stable EU governance. Finance is on the other side the debate; finance is interested in immediate returns, high risk, right here, right now. Legatum appears to be at the forefront of the financiers' advance. Where does its money come from? Christopher Chandler[10] turned a family inheritance[11] of £310m into £5bn. He owns a hedge fund "Legatum", based in Dubai. The fund gives £m to the Legatum Foundation, which in turn provides £s to run the Legatum Institute. Finance capital is clear about what Brexit is for: to transform Britain into a low-regulation state, and in turn break the semi-regulated cartel that is the EU. Capitalism is now almost flatlining, and is not going to save itself. It needs to be fed; your pension and your planet is its feed. All this is of great concern to people within the environment movement. "Legatum's demands for deregulation post-Brexit, and its full-throttled support for letting the market loose, raise questions about who is trying to profit from the Brexit process." OpenDemocracy, Brendan Montague
  • Nov.26.2017: Legatum Group's response to the Mail on Sunday article, Nov.26.2017. Legatum, '
  • Nov.26.2017: Legatum: the Brexiteers’ favourite think tank. Who is behind them? What does their background in 'disaster capitalism' tell us about Legatum's Brexit agenda? Legatum's belief that Britain should remove all tariffs has almost become an article of faith for leading eurosceptics, including Brexit minister Steve Baker + Shanker Singham. Michael Gove himself told the Commons in February that he was "sanguine" about Brexit because he was taking "the lead from Shanker Singham. In July and August, Singham held private meetings with Philip Rycroft, a top civil servant at DExEU. Singham gave evidence to the Committee on Exiting the European Union. He also had meetings with Lord Headley of Bridges at Downing Street before the peer resigned from DExEU in June. Steve Baker, the ardently eurosceptic Brexit minister, has heaped praise on Legatum in parliament and on his own website. Singham, and Legatum, is certainly very well thought of in Conservative circles. ...US author Anne Applebaum and Soviet-born British journalist Peter Pomerantsev. Applebaum left after Philippa Stroud was appointed as CEO in Sept.2016. Baroness Stroud co-founded the Centre for Social Justice think-tank and was a special adviser to Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith. Matthew Elliot, head of Vote Leave, became a senior fellow. Toby Baxendale, who helped run Andrea Leadsom’s Tory leadership campaign, became a trustee. Baxendale established the radical free market think tank Cobden Centre alongside Steve Baker. In August, British-born New Zealander Crawford Falconer left Legatum's trade commission to become chief trade negotiation adviser at Liam Fox's Department for International Trade. Christopher Chandler and his older brother, Richard, have been described as 'disaster capitalists'. The Chandlers explained that they made money from "transition economies or distressed sectors where information is not easily available and standard metrics don't apply". The Legatum think tank in London still receives the bulk of its funding from Chandler and the Legatum Foundation. The charity also receives support from more than 40 separate donors. Sir Paul Marshall bankrolled a 12-month research programme entitled 'A Vision for Capitalism'. The programme was run by Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie and launched by then chancellor George Osborne. Montgomerie is now editor of UnHerd, a website backed by Marshall. A spokesperson for Marshall said he no longer funded Legatum. "Paul co-chairs with Lord Hill something called Prosperity UK, which a group of us put together to bring Remainers and Leavers together to implement Brexit constructively. “Legatum has risen from nowhere, taken over by Philippa Stroud the former SPAD for Iain Duncan Smith, director of his think tank the Centre for social Justice and Christian fundamentalist. OpenDemocracy, Peter Geoghegan
  • Nov.26.2017: Think tank advising Brexit-backing cabinet ministers has Russian links. Michael Gove and Boris Johnson took advice from a senior figure at a group with links to Vladimir Putin. The National, '
  • Nov.26.2017: Thinktank which 'helped draft Johnson and Gove letter to May influencing Brexit policy' denies Russia links. The Legatum Institute was set up by Christopher Chandler – a financier who made a fortune as a majority shareholder at a Russian gas company. The Independent, Caroline Mortimer
  • Nov.20.2017: Legatum's suggestions for the negotiations of a "strong and effective Free Trade Agreement with the US." To sum up: Be ready to "adjust" in "a few" areas (like food & agriculture) to get a good deal in others. Here are what the Legatum Institute calls "Barriers to trade" aka "Regulations to scrap in order to get a strong and effective deal". First stop, food. Turns out chlorinated chicken is only the top of the iceberg ("invisible" GMOs for everyone!) Next stop, wine, whisky, carbon dioxyde emissions curbing, renewable energies, uranium regulations. Barriers to trade. Fishery, finance, data protection, telecommunications regulations. Barriers to trade like non-discrimination, equal treatment, proportionality, transparency, domestic market protection... Twitter, FactsCentral
  • Nov.20.2017: Here are what the Legatum Institute calls "Barriers to trade" aka "Regulations to scrap in order to get a strong and effective deal". First stop, food. Turns out chlorinated chicken is only the top of the iceberg ("invisible" GMOs for everyone!) Nevertheless, Parliament did vote down the protection of people, animals & environment in the European Withdrawal Bill, which is uncomfortably consistent with suggested removal of "barriers to trade"... (Screenshots of the relevant pages.) Twitter, @FactsCentral
  • Nov.19.2017: By popular demand, here's a quick thread on what you should know about Legatum, #HardBrexit and... Russia. Legatum has become one of the most influential think tanks in '#HardBrexit' circles - and is backed by a secretive New Zealand billionaire[12]. @LiamByrneMP, '
    • Legatum's Special Trade Enquiry recommended #HardBrexit - leaving the Customs Union and Single Market.[13]
    • Who backs Legatum? Well, it's funded by Mr Chandler, a New Zealand billionaire, who lives in Singapore and works in Dubai.[14]
    • Last week, @BenPBradshaw suggested the new Intelligence Select Committee make a close study of his background. Mr Chandler made a fortune in the chaos of Russia. Indeed he and his brother 'say they were the largest foreign portfolio investors in Russia.[15]
    • Mr Chandler made a new fortune working with Mr Putin's associates to re-organise GazProm, after Putin's election in 2000, helping lead a boardroom coup to emplace - Alexei Miller - Mr Putin's deputy from St Petersburg days - as head of GazProm. GazProm then became VERY important to Putin. The Economist reports: 'As President Vladimir Putin consolidated his power in the early 2000s, he built Gazprom into a main instrument of Russia’s new state capitalism.[16]
    • For some reason, Mr Chandler was investigated in the intelligence operation to clean up Monaco - but thankfully this found 'no evidence of wrongdoing'. Soon after Mr Chandler relocated to Dubai/ Singapore.[17]
    • Came across this link. Interesting parallel: 20 years of 40% growth per year, where 9% is industry average. Regardless of economic tides. Both Russia ties and involved in anti-western movements.[18] @HonestLeadership
  • Oct.26.2017: Podcast: "We have to remember that the WTO is the foundation of the international trading system" argues @LegatumInst's Shanker Singham. Presented by BrexitCentral's Darren Grimes. {WTO, Shanker Singham} Brexit Central Podcast page, @BrexitCentral
  • Listen to podcast here.
  • Oct.11.2017: Hard Brexit - Not In Our Name. Q: Is Mrs May pursuing a Hard Brexit? Yes. EFTA4UK, '
  • Jul.18.2017: How to beat the ticking Brexit clock: let British business leaders do the talking. The Legatum Institute, a global thinktank, is steering the UK in its negotiations. It seems to have precious little experience of dealing with the EU. The institute has established a special commission on trade that consists of more than 20 people with different “trade” backgrounds. It is run by a British American director. The Legatum member who has just been nominated the UK's new chief trade negotiation adviser is a New Zealander. The funding of the institute comes from a foundation that is part of a Dubai-based private investment group. So much for the UK "taking back control". (more...) The Guardian, Miriam González Durántez
  • Feb.2017: Brexit, Movement of Goods and the Supply Chain. Long paper essentially telling the govt how to force a hard Brexit on the European Union. Charlie Elphicke endorses this plan. Legatum Institute, Shanker A. Singham, Victoria Hewson


  1. ^ Transparency Comparison Table. Who Funds You?. Accessed Aug.2018.
  2. ^ a b Special Trade Commission Legatum Institute. Accessed Jan.10.2018.
  3. ^ The Future of UK Trade Policy. (Video) Legatum Institute, YouTube, May.04.2017.
  4. ^ How to beat the ticking Brexit clock: let British businessleaders do the talking. The Guardian, Miriam González Durántez, Jul.18.2017
  5. ^ Boris and Gove's plot to "hijack" No.10 exposed: Menacing secret memo to Theresa May dictating terms for a hard Brexit triggers new Cabinet rift. The Mail on Sunday, Simon Walters, Glen Owen, Nov.11.2017
  6. ^ Putin's link to Boris and Gove's Brexit 'coup' revealed: Tycoon who netted millions from Russian gas deal funds think tank that helped write the ministers letter demanding May take a tougher stance on leaving the EU. The Mail on Sunday, Simon Walters, Glen Owen, Nov.26.2017
  7. ^ Trade talks guru who urges a hard break with Brussels (Shanker Singham). The Times, Tommy Stubbington, Apr.30.2017
  8. ^ Christopher Chandler: billionaire behind Legatum think tank has unrivalled access to Brexit MPs. The Times, Marcus Leroux, Oct.14.2017
  9. ^ Legatum: the Brexiteers’ favourite think tank. Who is behind them? OpenDemocracyUK, Peter Geoghegan, Nov.26.2017
  10. ^ Christopher Chandler
  11. ^ Shanker Singham
  12. ^ Christopher Chandler: billionaire behind Legatum think tank has unrivalled access to Brexit MPs, The Sunday Times, Marcus Leroux, Oct.14.2017
  13. ^ The Legatum Institute Special Trade Commission (STC)... Legatum Institute Special Trade Commission
  14. ^ Brexit: disaster capitalism, EUReferendum.com, Richard North, Jul.31.2017
  15. ^ Secrets of Sovereign, Institutional Investor, Mar.16.2006
  16. ^ Russia’s wounded giant, [The Economist], Mar.23.2013
  17. ^ Spies, Lies and Videotape, MarkHollingsworth.co.uk, Mark Hollingsworth, Mar.2011
  18. ^ Robert Mercer - Money Launderer for Vladimir Putin, Medium, Aug.21.2017
  19. ^ Blue Scholar Workers: The Legatum Institute faces investigation by charity watchdogs after unconvincing claims to scholarly political independence. Private Eye £1454,