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Dirty Russian money flowing through London is destabilising Ukraine, warns senior Tory MP

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Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Bocharov Ruchei residence on September 29. Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Bocharov Ruchei residence on September 29. Vladimir SmirnovTASS via Getty Images
  • More than 100,000 Russian troops are on the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.
  • The UK is considering whether to increase its existing military presence.
  • A senior MP said the UK could not 'ignore' hostilities because of its role in money laundering.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The UK has a duty to support Ukraine in the face of a potential Russian invasion because "dirty money" flowing through London is destabilising eastern Europe, a senior Conservative MP said.

More than 100,000 Russian troops are currently massed on the Ukrainian border and there are growing concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin may attempt an invasion. 

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, arrived in Berlin on Thursday to try and win support for sanctions against Russia and will travel afterwards to Moscow. But he told the BBC on Wednesday he was "not optimistic" an invasion could be stopped.

The UK government is keeping an open mind as to whether to increase its military presence, Insider understands. 

Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the UK had a responsibility to act because of London's role in global money laundering.

Speaking from Sarajevo, he said: "A lot of the dirty money that sadly is causing the instability — both here in Bosnia and indeed in Ukraine and of course in Russia — flows through our markets in London.

"This is an area sadly that has much too much to do with us and we cannot ignore."

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, on Saturday October 9, 2021. Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images
Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling, on Saturday October 9, 2021. Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Tugendhat's committee of British parliamentarians has long warned that Putin has been emboldened by the inaction of the UK to extensive tackle money laundering in London. 

A 2018 Foreign Affairs Committee report titled "Moscow's Gold"  highlighted how the best way to tackle Russian aggression was to stop the Kremlin from illegally laundering money through the UK and its overseas terrorities.

It said: "Turning a blind eye to London's role in hiding the proceeds of Kremlin-connected corruption risks signaling that the UK is not serious about confronting the full spectrum of President Putin's offensive measures."

Tugendhat announced in January that his committee would re-examine the influence of Russian oligarchs' money being laundered through the City of London — and why the UK government wasn't doing enough to tackle the problem.

He told the Guardian: "We have again to address the issue of the dirty money in the UK. We will be looking more at where this money is going. We will be highlighting the overseas territories."

A report this week by the American Center for Progress, a think-tank with close links to the Biden administration, this week said the UK had become a "major hub for Russian oligarchs and their wealth, with London gaining the moniker 'Londongrad.'

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