UK is turning blind eye to Russia's 'dirty Money', British MPs warn

A report released by the UK's Commons foreign affairs committee warns that the UK government is putting national security at risk allowing the Russian money laundering  

A powerful committee of British MPs has warned that the UK government is putting national security at risk allowing “kleptocrats and human rights abusers to use the City of London to launder their ill-gotten funds to circumvent sanctions”.

The Commons foreign affairs committee accused the UK of turning a “blind eye” to Russia’s “dirty money”.

It said the government’s lax approach to tackling international money laundering is putting money “directly into the hands of regimes that would harm the UK, its interests and its allies”, And that it was "business as usual" for the UK despite the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

In a hard-hitting report titled Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK, the committee said the government was failing to follow through on the prime minister’s “robust rhetoric” in the wake of the Skripals’ poisoning.

“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,” the report said.

The report said the UK’s weakness to act to stem the flow of potentially questionable Russian money was exposed just days after the UK expelled two dozen Russian diplomats following the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

“On 16 March – two days after the government announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK – Russia raised $4bn (£2.97bn) in eurobond issuances, nearly half of which were bought by investors from the UK,” the report said.

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.

Security and economic crime minister Ben Wallace said he had not been called to give evidence to the committee: "I fear such an omission weakens the foundation of the report," he said.

Wallace said the UK was "determined to drive dirty money and the money launderers out".

"[We] will use all the powers we have, including the new powers in the Criminal Finance Act, to clamp down on those that threaten our security," he added.

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