Revealed: The Russian billionaires’ money in LGBT pub The Black Cap

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Campaigners are calling for an iconic LGBT venue in London to be re-opened.

The Black Cap closed in 2015 after a battle between developers, the council and campaigners.

Now it has been revealed that an offshore company ultimately owned by two Russian billionaire steel magnates had invested in the pub.

Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, joint heads of Russia’s largest steel producer Evraz, lent money to the pub in 2013, after it was bought by an offshore Jersey-based company in 2010.

The men have an estimated wealth in excess of $6billion, according to the Forbes Rich List.

Campaign group Transparency International (TI) made the breakthrough after an investigation by Ham&High.

Ben Walters, of campaign group the Black Cap Foundation, said: “Knowing the details of deals like this exposes the colossal gulf between the people who love and use our historic community spaces and the wealthy people who decide their fate.

“That’s why we desperately need more protection for pubs, queer venues and all spaces that care about people, community and culture.”

In March 2013 and March 2015 planning applications by the pub company Faucet Inn Ltd to turn the upstairs floors of into flats were refused following opposition.

Faucent Inn Ltd also attempted to buy out London’s oldest LGBT venue, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, but came up against opposition from locals and Lambeth Council.

The Black Cap pub was built in 1889, and was one of London’s oldest continually operating LGBT venues, after it became popular with gay men in the 1960s.

The Black Cap in Camden previously had its Asset of Community Value status upheld at appeal.

The pub closed its doors in April 2015after a battle over a proposed redevelopment which lasted several months.

It was going to be turned into a cafe called Hollenbecks by Ruth and Robinson, but they pulled out of the project after signing a 25-year lease at the site.

Cafe chain the Breakfast Club also pulled out of redeveloping the venue into a site of one of its cafes.

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