UK banks ‘laun­dered Rus­sian cash’

Daily Mail - - News - By Hugo Duncan Deputy Fi­nance Editor

BRI­tIsH banks were last night ac­cused of han­dling dodgy Rus­sian cash in a gi­ant money-laun­der­ing op­er­a­tion.

HsBC, Royal Bank of scot­land, Lloyds and Coutts were among 17 banks that were said to have pro­cessed pay­ments worth £600mil­lion.

the scheme, which saw at least £16bil­lion moved out of Rus­sia be­tween 2010 and 2014, was run by crim­i­nals with links to the Krem­lin and the Rus­sian spy agency, ac­cord­ing to the Guardian.

De­tec­tives be­lieve the true fig­ure could be £65bil­lion with the money be­ing sent from Rus­sia to Latvia and Moldova – and then around the world. One se­nior fig­ure in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said the money was ‘ob­vi­ously stolen or with crim­i­nal ori­gin’.

It is thought the op­er­a­tion – known as the ‘Global Laun­dro­mat’ – in­volved around 500 peo­ple in­clud­ing Moscow bankers, oli­garchs and fig­ures con­nected to the FsB, the suc­ces­sor spy agency to the KGB.

Igor Putin, the cousin of Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, was on the board of one of the Moscow banks in­volved in the fraud, ac­cord­ing to the Guardian.

Doc­u­ments are said to re­veal some of the money was spent in the UK – with one wealthy Rus­sian pay­ing for his son’s board­ing school fees at Mill­field in som­er­set.

the records also show di­a­monds were bought from a jewellers in Bond street, furs from bro­kers in north London, and chande- liers from a bou­tique in Chelsea. the reve­la­tions mark yet an­other em­bar­rass­ment for Bri­tain’s banks, who will face ques­tions over what they knew about the scheme and why they did not re­ject sus­pi­cious trans­fers.

the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Author­ity, the watch­dog for the sec­tor, de­mands banks ‘con­sider the money-laun­der­ing risk pre­sented by cus­tomers, tak­ing into ac­count coun­try risk, the cus­tomer’s rep­u­ta­tion and the source of their wealth and funds’.

the re­port claims that HsBC pro­cessed around £440mil­lion of cash, mostly through its Hong Kong branch.

RBs – which is still 71 per cent owned by the tax­payer fol­low­ing the fi­nan­cial cri­sis – han­dled more than £90mil­lion.

All banks named in the doc­u­ments said they have strict anti-laun­der­ing poli­cies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.