Whitehall sources have told The Times that Skripal's house will be bought for £350,000, with Detective Sergent Nick Bailey, who also fell ill after being exposed to Novichok, receiving £430,000 in compensation for his family home. The combined payout, accounting for homes, cars and other personal possessions, is expected to run taxpayers a cool £1 million (about $1.3 million).
The property buyout is the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the March poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which the British government immediately blamed on Russia.
British social media users, already frustrated over the lack of evidence from their government to confirm that Russia had anything to do with the poisoning, were infuriated to hear that a home presumably already bought for the Russian ex-spy by the government would now apparently be bought back from him.
So ex spy gets house bought for him by tax payer and then…the tax payer buys the house eh wtf?— 𝕁𝕠𝕙𝕟 ℍ𝕒𝕟𝕟𝕒𝕙 (@IndeComms) 24 июня 2018 г.
This must be a joke!— Caroline Lee (@campers_caro) 24 июня 2018 г.
Others asked where the buyouts would end and offered their own solutions on how to save the public purse some money.
Are we going to end up paying for the Govt to buy the pub, the restaurant, the park bench, the ambulance and part of the hospital too? 🤔— RickGH2015 (@RickGH2015) 24 июня 2018 г.
Here you go, just saved them £999,991.01 pic.twitter.com/pL4jW8JFvh— Scotty Doyle (@Welshyguy78) 24 июня 2018 г.
Most users focused on the fact that the buyout looks like a painfully obvious effort to cover up some inconvenient truth.
remember the #Skripal WMD nerve agent poisoning, it seems the tax payer is going to buy their house prob so it can be demolished to ensure the truth never gets out— David McDonagh (@davmcdngh) 24 июня 2018 г.
This needs more attention than it's getting — bizarre if true. Since when do you spend tax-payer money on buying crime scenes? Let alone the cars and houses of witnesses? Are there any other examples of this happening? #Skripal #UK #Russia #Salisburyhttps://t.co/zCgB9qnWZL— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) 24 июня 2018 г.
Nothing dodgy about that. 500k house brought for a mil!! #HushMoney— carlos201070 (@Carlos201070) 24 июня 2018 г.
It reeks of a cover-up. My bullshit detector is going off. Poisoning a couple of miles away from Porton Down, Boris the Blonde Buffoon going off on one. Nah, something isn't right.— John Ewen (@AjarnJohn) 24 июня 2018 г.
Former Russian military intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious in the town of Salisbury, southern England on March 4, 2018, with UK experts concluding that they were poisoned with the A234 'Novichok' nerve agent. The UK and its allies immediately accused Moscow of orchestrating the attack, but provided no evidence to substantiate their claims. Detective Bailey and the Skripals have since recovered, with Bailey leaving hospital in March and Yulia and Sergei discharged on April 9 and May 18 and taken to 'a secure location'.
In early June, Berlin complained that it still has yet to receive any evidence from its UK allies of Russia being behind the poisoning attack. On May 25, the Russian Embassy in the UK urged London to apologize to Moscow over the accusations.