Tories Accused of Turning a Blind Eye to Russian ‘Dirty Money’
The foreign affairs select committee has accused the Government of ignoring “kleptocrats and human rights abusers” of using the City of London as a way to circumvent existing sanctions by the United Kingdom and its allies.
In a report titled “Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK”, the committee argued that Russian money laundering in the UK posed a threat to British national security, and said that the Government’s statements in the wake of the Skripal poisoning had not been followed up upon.
“Despite the strong rhetoric, President Putin and his allies have been able to continue ‘business as usual’ by hiding and laundering their corrupt assets in London,” the report said.
“These assets, on which the Kremlin can call at any time, both directly and indirectly support President Putin’s campaign to subvert the international rules-based system, undermine our allies, and erode the mutually reinforcing international networks that support UK foreign policy.”
Labour has previously called for stronger regulations to stop money laundering occurring through the city of London.
Neena Gil, a Labour MEP, told the European Parliament tax committee “Billions and billions are laundered through Europe every year, much of it through the City, most of it Russian, oligarch after oligarch linked to Putin who see the EU, and UK in particular, as a soft touch to clean their cash.
“The current laws need strengthening - regulatory authorities must be given more powers to identify, investigate and punish those suspected of money laundering, with banks sanctioned for failing to carry out due diligence of dodgy capital and property.
“The UK must back any new measures, and must also clamp down on Russian oligarchs who use British Overseas Territories to stash their money, instead of constantly trying to delay, water down, or outright oppose anti-money laundering legislation.”
The Kremlin has denounced the report, with Russian Government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stating "This is nothing other than the latest step in line with unfriendly, unfair competition”.