A group of MPs have signalled that dodgy Russian money flowing into the British banking sector is harming UK national security.
Even after Salisbury attack, it appears to be business as usual, and the flow of illicit money has continued regardless of the tough talk from the highest levels of government.
The MPs have called upon the British government to take stronger action to halt money laundering by ‘kleptocrats and human rights abusers.”
The foreign affairs select committee said the government’s poor approach to dealing with money laundering is putting cash “directly into the hands of regimes that would harm the UK, its interests and its allies”.
These people use “the City of London to launder their ill-gotten funds to circumvent sanctions”.
The Committee’s report titled Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK said: “Despite the strong rhetoric, President [Vladimir] Putin and his allies have been able to continue ‘business as usual’ by hiding and laundering their corrupt assets in London.”
“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.”
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, the committee chair, said: “We can no longer allow ‘business as usual’. The UK must be clear that the corruption stemming from the Kremlin is no longer welcome in our markets and we will act.”
The committee wants to see tough action from the government including:
- Stopping companies which are sanctioned in other countries from trading in London
- Closing of “loopholes” which allow debt issuance to be used to go around sanctions
- Individuals close to President Putin’s government sanctioned
- A crackdown on money laundering focusing on ownership of luxury property in the UK and dependant territories.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich , who is close to Putin, is yet to have his UK visa renewed after it reportedly ran out in April, forcing him to return to Russia.