(London) As the West threatens Moscow with unprecedented sanctions if it intervenes in Ukraine, British NGOs and officials are attacking Russia’s monetary role from corruption entering the financial and real estate markets of the United Kingdom.
Posted on January 28th
“While Moscow is flexing its muscles in Ukraine, Russia’s money is still poisoning our shores,” Tom Tugendhat, Conservative MP and chairman of Britain’s Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee said in a column published on Friday by CityAmone of the daily favorites of Britain’s powerful financial industry.
Not just tanks are threatening, but cash.
Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the UK Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Tory MP said funds placed in “London accounts and assets were being used to undermine UK security”, specifically citing the death of former Russia’s agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned by polonium in 2006 in London after denouncing corruption and the alleged links of Russia’s services to organized crime.
After years of intense tension with Russia, London has taken a very offensive position on the crisis in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of wanting to take kyiv and put a pro-Russian government there, and sending anti -tank missiles for the Ukrainian army.
But British authorities have also been accused of turning a blind eye to the source of some of Russia’s money flowing into London, sometimes dubbed “Londongrad”, which is sometimes suspected of coming from corruption, criminal activities, and being used for goals of influence.
The Russian oligarchs had large properties and assets in the upmarket areas of London.
On the BBC, Tom Tugendhat judged that the United Kingdom has a particular responsibility in the current crisis because of London’s role in global money laundering.
Most of the money that unfortunately causes instability, here in Bosnia and Ukraine and of course in Russia, flows into our London markets. ”
Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, in an interview with the BBC
According to American diplomats quoted on Friday by the British daily The TimesLondon’s inaction in the face of Russia’s cash flow into the British economy would reduce the effectiveness of potential financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Washington cited.
The British “washing machine”
The NGO Transparency International estimates at 1.5 billion pounds (2.6 billion Canadian dollars) the value of real estate held in the United Kingdom by Russians accused of corruption or associated with the Kremlin.
Of this amount, £ 1bn is held by companies based in British Crown tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man, according to the organization.
It’s no secret that Britain is a washing machine for dirty money and reputation for Russians and citizens of other countries. Not only does it affect the citizens of countries with corrupt regimes, but it also poses security threats here in the UK.
Duncan Hames, policy director at Transparency International UK.
“The government should push for long-awaited reforms to prevent criminals and the corrupt from storing their illicit profits in high-end properties here” in the UK, he added in a statement received of the AFP. Friday, which called on London to freeze assets.
The United Kingdom currently imposes financial penalties for corruption on 14 Russian personalities.
In 2018, a British Foreign Affairs Commission report titled “Moscow’s gold”, published amid the Skripal affair (a former double agent poisoned in England, by Moscow according to London), concluded that the best way to fight the invasion of Russia. is to prevent the Kremlin from laundering illegal money into the UK and through its territories abroad.
In this report, anti-corruption activist Roman Borisovich described Russia’s oligarchs as among the “same type” of people imprisoned in the Kremlin.
“Even though they look very different-one owns a soccer team, one donated money to an Oxford school, one is imprisoned in communist prisons, one is a civil servant …- […] they make money through a relationship with the Russian government. […] This bond forces them to do all sorts of things for Putin.
The Foreign Affairs Committee aims to quickly launch an investigation into the regulation of money flows in the world, one of its spokesmen told AFP on Friday.