London, the money-laundering capital

The City’s money markets clean up an estimated £90 billion of illicit funds each year, writes Robert Barrington

The World Today Updated 18 November 2020 Published 31 March 2018 4 minute READ

Robert Barrington

Executive Director, Transparency International UK

‘The UK’s role as a global financial centre is important to the country’s prosperity but can also be exploited by criminals. The 2016 National Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organized Crime notes that the UK is one of the most attractive destinations for laundering the proceeds of grand corruption and that professional enablers and intermediaries play a role in this. The National Crime Agency estimates up to £90 billion of illicit funds are laundered through the UK each year.’

What do we learn from this interesting quotation? Three things: first, Britain is a key destination for global money-laundering, involving significant flows of funds; secondly, this is not just an accident − enablers and intermediaries play a deliberate part in it; and most significantly, the government acknowledges that this is happening. The passage quoted is not from an NGO campaign leaflet, but from the British government’s own Anti-Corruption Strategy, published in December 2017.

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