London’s financial flows are polluted by laundered money
Time to clean up
Britain likes to see itself as a leader in the fight against illicit finance and corruption. The government has recently been talking even tougher, as worsening relations with Russia have focused attention on the number of oligarchs who have interests in London. Anyone looking to stash dirty money “should be in no doubt that we will come for them,” warns Ben Wallace, the economic-crime minister.
In fact the record suggests that wrongdoers can sleep easy. The National Crime Agency (NCA) reckons that “many hundreds of billions of pounds” of international money is rinsed through British banks each year, much of it from kleptocrats and their cronies. Much of the iffy money is ploughed into swanky British pads. Over 40,000 London properties are held by overseas firms, a quarter of them registered in the British Virgin Islands. Almost every big cross-border corruption case in recent years has had a connection
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