Russian money, hidden in British assets and laundered through financial institutions the City of London, damages the government’s efforts to take a tough stance against Moscow’s aggressive foreign policy, a committee of lawmakers said on Monday. This was reported by Reuters.
Britain’s financial center has been a major beneficiary of the massive flight of Russian cash since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, and London remains the Western capital of choice for the oligarchs and Russian officials who flaunt their wealth across Europe’s most luxurious destinations.
But Britain has led an international diplomatic backlash against Russia following the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in an English city - an attack which the government blames on the Kremlin. Moscow has denied any involvement in the incident.
A report by parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said Russian money was undermining Britain’s criticism of the Kremlin and supporting what it called a campaign by President Vladimir Putin “to subvert the international rules-based system”.
"The scale of damage that this 'dirty money' can do to U.K. foreign-policy interests dwarfs the benefit of Russian transactions in the City," the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat said on May 21 ahead of the release of the report, titled Moscow's Gold: Russian Corruption In The U.K.
He warned that London's markets were "enabling" the Kremlin to spread its influence throughout the West by allowing Russians to buy and sell luxury properties in the British capital.
"Over the years, Moscow has turned from being a corrupt state to an exporter of instability. Russian corruption and influence has become a matter of national security," he added.