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When Conservative MP Bob Seely exercised parliamentary privilege to name and shame “amoral” lawyers working for Russian oligarchs, one silk stood out to legal experts and old hacks alike: Hugh Tomlinson QC.

The Oxford-educated barrister is best known for being the chairman of Hacked Off, the campaign group established in response to the phone-hacking scandal. Matrix Chambers, the law firm he co-founded, describe him on its website as a “doyen of media law”.

But Tomlinson has also worked as a lucratively-paid lawyer for Roman Abramovich, whose multi-billion-pound fortune is, in large part, derived from proceeds he collected selling several Kremlin-owned assets he acquired following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Tomlinson’s claim to be a firm campaigner for a free and accountable press is hard to square with Abramovich’s proximity to the Russian state.

The last recorded instance of Tomlinson working with Abramovich was last year. He advocated successfully for the oligarch in a libel claim against Catherine Belton for her book “Putin’s People”, which claimed Abramovich bought Chelsea FC on Moscow’s orders.

The Hound has approached Matrix Chambers asking whether Abramovich is still a client. Tomlinson has yet to respond in public to explain his association.