LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers launched a brand new inquiry into money-laundering, sanctions and financial crime on Thursday, with a selected give attention to properties purchased with so-called “dirty money”, amid rising tensions with Russia.
Prime Minister Theresa May stated there was no place for “serious criminals and corrupt elites” earlier this month, as she outlined British response to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal, for which the UK has blamed Russia.
Britain and Russia have expelled 23 diplomats every within the dispute over the poisoning, which Russia denies.
“Given the threats that face the UK, the effectiveness of the regimes that we use to protect our financial system from misuse have never been more important,” stated Nicky Morgan, Chair of the decrease home Treasury Committee which is main the inquiry.
“It has been claimed that the UK, particularly the London property market, is becoming a destination of choice to launder the proceeds of overseas crime and corruption – so-called ‘dirty money,’” she added.
Morgan stated the inquiry would have a look at Britain’s worldwide efforts to deal with money-laundering and terrorist financing.
In figures cited by the Treasury Committee, stress group Transparency International stated as much as four.four billion kilos price of British property may have been purchased with suspicious wealth.
“Recent events seemed to have propelled some much-needed new impetus into the UK’s fight against dirty money and we very much welcome the Treasury Committee holding this inquiry,” stated Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK.
London has been a chief venue for wealthy Russians to purchase property and the influx of Russian cash has led to the capital being nicknamed “Londongrad”. But regardless of May’s powerful rhetoric on Russian elites, she has not named folks or corporations that will be particularly focused by sanctions.
Morgan additionally stated the inquiry would additionally have a look at financial crime geared toward customers, akin to fraud and scams.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; enhancing by Stephen Addison