As anti-corruption organizations have been doing for years, a British parliamentary report issued this week denounced London’s complacency about Russian fortunes, whose sources are suspicious in some cases, and is working to gain influence in the country’s top circles.
“The UK is harboring billions of pounds for suspected Russian fortunes,” said expert Transparency International in Kodok, adding that at least 1 billion of that money was invested in the luxury real estate sector, mostly in London.
And for the professor specializing in Russian affairs at UCL University in London, Betty Duncan, it is about “hundreds of billions of pounds” that came out of Moscow in the nineties, during large-scale privatization, and was invested in London.
The parliamentary report issued by the Parliamentary Intelligence Committee on Tuesday denounces what it describes as the British government’s complacency towards huge sums invested in the real estate sector, elite schools, and cultural institutions.
He also denounces massive donations made to politicians, especially conservatives, or paid to law firms and public relations, in order to gain access to the country’s top departments or even to buy reputation.
The report says that “Russian influence in the United Kingdom represents the new normal,” noting that “many Russians enjoy close ties” with President Vladimir Putin have been extensively involved in British business and society, especially in “Londongrad”, referring to the name that Sometimes given to this capital and its prominent Russian society.
While the representatives did not review names in their report, and point to the difficulty of finding compelling evidence about Russian interventions, whether during the campaign to prepare for the Brexit referendum or the independence referendum for Scotland in 2014, they consider that the executive authority “effectively avoided” the investigation.
Ben Kodok notes that “Russian donors with links to Putin are constantly participating in donation parties and mixing influential British personalities.”
The “laundering” of “dirty” money in London was largely highlighted in the scandal that followed Deutsche Bank regarding suspicious money transfers between the bank’s branches in Moscow and London.
Koddock states that the British government “promised in 2016 (to create) a register of real owners” of luxury homes that were often acquired through mock companies, but without result despite “it is something that can be quickly put in place.”
According to Pete Duncan, British crime-fighting organizations need more tools and means to pursue wealthy people close to the authority in Russia who protect themselves with the best of London’s law firms.
Labor MP Chris Bryant confirms that the Russian ambassador sought to remove him from chairing a parliamentary committee on Russia in 2009 because he was not close to the Kremlin.
According to him, the Conservatives have given way to a “massive influx of suspicious funds”, part of which has “fueled the Conservative Party” since 2010. The conservatives, in “The Guardian” newspaper last year, were accused of “intentional amnesia” over years of Moscow’s efforts “to weaken” Our political system. ”
Former Conservative Party chairman Brendon Lewis rejects these accusations, noting that his party “rejects foreign donations.”
Real estate agencies, law firms, and public relations, as well as “middlemen”, often turn a blind eye to the source of Russian wealth.