US issues warning over Russian ‘dirty money’ in UK
US diplomats have expressed concern that any sanctions imposed on Russia over a potential conflict in Ukraine will ultimately be ineffective due to Russian wealth in London.
The United States, the United Kingdom and a host of other NATO countries have promised to impose tough sanctions on Russia if President Vladimir Putin carries out an invasion of neighboring Ukraine, and have delivered arms shipments to reinforce the Ukrainian forces.
But US officials now fear Britain’s threats to impose tough economic sanctions on Putin are meaningless after years of allowing Russian kleptocrats to funnel what sources have described as “a heck of a lot of money.” money” to “Londongrad”.
“The fear is that Russian money is so entrenched in London now that the opportunity to use it as leverage against Putin could be lost,” a source in Washington told The Times.
“Biden is talking about sanctioning Putin himself, but that can only be symbolic,” the source asserted, saying billions in Russian cash are “sitting in houses in Knightsbridge and Belgravia under your government’s noses.”
It comes after a 2020 report by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) made damning claims that the capital was being used as a ‘laundry’ for cash from oligarchs who had bought a ‘new normality” of Russian influence in the UK.
A source in Washington told The Times that US diplomatic sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) over a possible invasion of Ukraine would be ineffective because so much money from Russian elites has been allowed into the UK
But US authorities now fear Britain’s threats to impose tough economic sanctions on Putin are futile after years of allowing Russian kleptocrats to funnel what sources have described as “a hell of a lot of money to “Londongrad” (photo: US President Joe Biden and Boris Johnson, October 2021)
It comes after a report by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) in 2020 made damning claims that the capital was being used as a “laundry” for money from oligarchs who had bought a “new normality” of Russian influence in the UK.
Establishing an accurate estimate of the amount of Russian money in London is extremely difficult, as the vast majority of Russian funds invested in Britain enter the country via offshore accounts in various other countries.
But the ISC report found Russian money has been pouring into the UK since the 1990s, with investor programs and relaxed regulations providing ideal conditions for kleptocrats to funnel tens or even hundreds of billions. books in the economy in exchange for great influence. .
The committee said that “few, if any, questions were asked about the provenance of this considerable wealth”, and that “several members of the Russian elite are identified as being involved in charitable and/or political organizations in the Kingdom. United, having made donations to political parties, which positions them to help Russian influence operations.
There are now fears that the government has left it too late to act and is no longer able – or perhaps even unwilling – to separate legitimate Russian investments from financial influence schemes, despite Boris Johnson’s claims that his government “will prosecute illicit finance and criminals”. who abuse our corporate structures”
“Biden is talking about sanctioning Putin himself, but that can only be symbolic,” the source claimed, saying billions in Russian cash “are sitting in homes in Knightsbridge and Belgravia under your government’s noses.” Washington source told The Times (President Biden pictured)
There are now fears that the government waited too late to act and is now unable – or perhaps even unwilling – to separate legitimate Russian investments from financial influence schemes.
Boris Johnson said just last month that his government would tackle “the illicit finance that undermines democracy everywhere” and “criminals who abuse our corporate structures”.
But the disturbing statement from the Washington diplomatic source comes after the Conservative Party’s anti-corruption chief John Penrose said on Tuesday that the government had delayed an economic crime bill that would have prevented Russian elites to buy property and make investments in London via offshore accounts.
Penrose’s accusations followed a day after Deputy Minister Lord Agnew resigned over the Government’s ‘foolish’ decision to push the bill back until the next parliamentary year.
Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, also expressed concern, saying that “protecting Britain means protecting us from foreign corruption”.
“We shouldn’t need the United States to call him.”
Although the United States is concerned about the effectiveness of any sanctions taken against Russia by the United Kingdom, the government appears willing to offer military support to Ukraine.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has reportedly asked military leaders for a range of options in a bid to deal with Moscow’s buildup of forces along the Ukrainian border.
Following the NATO talks yesterday, thousands of US troops are expected to be deployed to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Washington has asked its allies, including Britain, to help provide additional troops.
The UK has already sent several arms shipments to Ukraine, including a batch of NLAW anti-tank rockets, and sent British military personnel to help train Ukrainian forces.