Official warns too much Russian money is being laundered in the UK

One of the UK’s top officials fighting money laundering has warned that a “disturbing” amount of Russian money is being funnelled through the country.

Graeme Biggar, director general of the National Economic Crime Centre, told MPs on Monday that it was too easy to set up companies in the UK, meaning so-called “laundromats” could make billions of pounds look clean, City A.M. reported.

“We’ve done analysis recently in laundromats that have come out of Russia and the former Soviet Union,” he said.

“A disturbing proportion of money that comes out of those laundromats – not much shy of 50% in one case – were laundered through UK corporate structures.”

Biggar added that roughly 6,400 people had been charged for economic crimes in the UK over the last year.

The news comes just days after the HMRC named and shamed a list of companies that had been fined north of £23.8m for breaking money laundering laws.

“Businesses who fail to comply with the money laundering regulations leave themselves, and the UK economy, open to attacks by criminals,” Nick Sharp, deputy director of economic crime, fraud investigation service at HMRC, said at the time.

“Money laundering is not a victimless crime. Criminals use laundered cash to fund serious organised crime, from drug importation to child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and even terrorism.

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