Top official warns of ‘disturbing’ amount of Russian money laundering in UK
27 Jan 2021

One of the UK’s top officials in monitoring economic crime has today warned about the “disturbing” prevalence of Russian money laundering in London, claiming up to half of all money laundered from the country is done through the UK.

Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, told MPs today that it was “too easy to set up companies here” and that Russian “laundromats” were exploiting the UK’s corporate structure to launder billions of pounds.

Biggar’s Economic Crime Centre was set up in 2018 and works across agencies like the National Crime Agency, Financial Conduct Authority and City of London Police to “coordinate and task the UK’s response to economic crime”.

Westminster’s Intelligence and Security Committee last year released a report detailing the role the UK plays in handling money coming from Russian organised crime groups and oligarchs.

The report said “the arrival of Russian money has resulted in a growth industry of enablers – [British] lawyers, accountants and estate agents have all played a role”.

Transparency International, an NGO tracking global corruption, said last year that it had “identified more than £5bn worth of property [in the UK] bought with suspicious wealth – one fifth of this originates from Russia”.

By Stefan Boscia, City A.M., 25 January 2021

Read more at City A.M.

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