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Iran Press TV

Russian 'dirty money' damaging Britain: UK lawmakers

Iran Press TV

Mon May 21, 2018 07:35AM

The Russian "dirty money" invested in British assets and London's financial institutions weakens the government's plans to counter Moscow's foreign policy, UK lawmakers have warned.

The UK parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report on Sunday that by moving their wealth to London, Russian billionaires were undermining Britain's standoff with the Kremlin while supporting efforts by President Vladimir Putin "to subvert the international rules-based system."

"The scale of damage that this 'dirty money' can do to UK foreign policy interests dwarfs the benefit of Russian transactions in the City," Tom Tugendhat, the committee chairman, said.

"There is no excuse for the UK to turn a blind eye as President Putin's kleptocrats and human rights abusers use money laundered through London to corrupt our friends, weaken our alliances, and erode faith in our institutions," he added.

London has been the main destination for Russian billionaires, who started to fly their money over to the City in immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This has caused problems for Britain, which has led an international diplomatic backlash against Russia over the past months.

The backlash mainly revolves around Russia's contributions in the years-long war against foreign-backed militancy in Syria.

Ties between the two sides dropped to a new low in early April, after a former Russian double agent in the English city of Salisbury was attacked by the Novichok deadly nerve gas agent.

London blamed the attack on Russia due to the chemical's Russian origin and expelled several Russian diplomats.

Among its recommendations to minimize the financial risks from Russian money, the committee suggested that Britain should work with international allies to make it more difficult for Russian banks to issue sovereign bonds.

They committee argued that the bonds were not subjected to US-led sanctions against Russia and this gave Moscow freedom in issuing them.

Just like the US, the UK has also accused Russia of interfering in its elections through deploying online bots and conducting a series of cyber attacks around the world.

Russia has denied all the accusations, calling them part of an anti-Russian propaganda spread by Western governments.

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