I have repeatedly warned that the cost of failing to interdict the obscene amount of money laundering that goes through the City of London, will have huge consequences for ordinary people.
When any society fails to obstruct the flow of criminal money, the people who are moving the money become the de facto controllers of the banking system.
It is pointless hoping that our children will be able to stay in London in the future.
Even if there were any jobs for them, they will not be able to afford the rents of even the smallest flat, never mind have any aspiration to own a house of their own.
Property prices have escalated way beyond the hopes and ambitions of ordinary men and women, and London has quickly become the stamping ground for an army of foreign criminals, tax evaders, pimps, whores and assorted slimeballs, all of whom have found London to be a very welcoming home of choice.
We have sold our once-proud sense of independence and our strong degree of self-reliance to a bunch of Russian and Asian crooks whose money will not pass muster, but as no-one in the British financial Establishment is looking too closely, City practitioners have merely become highly paid prostitutes, working in the financial bordello of EC3.
This dependency on Russian money is even distorting our foreign policy position. England’s political establishment has become crude and mercenary. A British civil servant was recently pictured arriving in Downing Street for a national security council meeting with an open document in his hand, dealing with a proposed UK response to the crisis in Crimea and the Ukraine. Despite the Russian aggression, it recommended that Britain should “not support, for now, any trade sanctions,” nor should it “close London’s financial centre to Russians.”
Mustn’t let principles get in the way of enriching the City of London.
The Government agrees, it doesn’t care as long as the money continues to flood in. Never mind the fact that we have strong laws designed to prevent and forestall the entree of this money, the laws and the regulations are widely ignored by George Osborne, Boris Johnson and David Cameron, in order to permit this cornucopia of foreign dirty money to seep into every nook and cranny of the financial establishment.
A recent article in the New York Times points out that the UK is deliberately breaking step with the Americans over this issue, and puts the matter this way.
“...The White House has imposed visa restrictions on some Russian officials, and President Obama has issued an executive order enabling further sanctions. But Britain has already undermined any unified action by putting profit first.
It boils down to this: Britain is ready to betray the United States to protect the City of London’s hold on dirty Russian money. And forget about Ukraine.
Britain, open for business, no longer has a “mission. Britain’s ruling class has decayed to the point where its first priority is protecting its cut of Russian money — even as Russian armoured personnel carriers rumble around the streets of Sevastopol. But the UK establishment understands that, in the 21st century, what matters are banks, not tanks...”
The Russians also understand this. They know, as many UK criminal investigators know, London is a centre of Russian corruption, that their loot enriches Britain’s empire of tax havens — from Gibraltar to Jersey, from the Cayman Islands to the British Virgin Islands — a financial empire on which the sun never sets.
You can now buy British residency, our much vaunted citizenship is up for sale. And it’s cheap for a Russian oligarch or crook.
“Investor visas” can be purchased, starting at £1 million ($1.6 million). London lawyers in the Commercial Court now get 60% of their work from Russian and Eastern European clients.
More than 50 Russian-based companies swell the trade at London’s Stock Exchange. Planning regulations have been scrapped, and along the Thames, up go spires of steel and glass for the hedge-funding class.
Britain’s bright young professionals have now become the foreigners’ poodles, the oligarchs’ valets.
Vladimir V. Putin, understands the rules of the new game only too well. When you pay the piper, you own him, and you call the tune. Putin was absolutely certain that Britain’s managers — shuttling through the revolving door between cabinet posts and financial boards — would never give up their fees and commissions from the oligarchs’ billions. He was right. Never underestimate the British taste for foreign funny money.
The direct impact is that property prices, already inflated by the free availability of this money are enjoying a knock-on effect elsewhere in London, as professional workers, accountants, lawyers, bankers et al spread wider and wider to afford houses, while the prices of ordinary 3 bedroom Victorian terrace houses, of which London possesses hundreds of thousands, spread across the Metropolis, spiral upwards exponentially.
Billions of pounds of corruptly gained money has been laundered by criminals and foreign officials buying upmarket London properties through anonymous offshore front companies – making the City of London the world capital of money laundering.
Transparency International, the respected anti-corruption organisation, reports that some 36,342 properties in London have been bought through hidden companies in offshore havens and vast numbers are thought to have been bought anonymously to hide stolen money. The flow of corrupt cash has driven up average prices with a “widespread ripple effect down the property price chain and beyond London”, according to property experts cited in the most comprehensive study ever carried out into the long-suspected money laundering route through central London real estate. by Transparency International.
Some sources claim it has skewed developers towards building high-priced flats and houses rather than ones ordinary people can afford. While corruption and tax evasion are likely to be the biggest sources of the illicit money, drug dealing, people trafficking and sanctions busting are also common, police say.-
TI’s research, which includes previously unreleased internal figures from the Metropolitan Police Proceeds of Corruption Unit, found that 75 per cent of properties owned by people under criminal investigation for corruption are held through secret offshore companies.
London has become a global magnet for corrupt funds, TI said, due to the high prices of property – enabling millions of pounds to be laundered at a time – and Britain’s notoriously lax rules on the disclosure of property ownership. Any anonymous company in a secret location, such as the British Virgin Islands, can buy and sell houses in the UK with no disclosure of who the actual purchaser is. Meanwhile, TI said, estate agents only have to carry out anti-money-laundering checks on the person selling the property, leaving the buyers bringing their money into the country facing little, if any scrutiny.
Anti-corruption experts have repeatedly expressed frustration that the UK does so little to stem the flow of money stolen from their countries. This author has repeatedly warned against the impact of permitting foreign-based criminal capital to be laundered through London.
Robert Barrington, executive director of TI, said: “This has a devastating effect on the countries from which the money has been stolen and it’s hard to see how welcoming the world’s corrupt elite is beneficial to communities in the UK.”
If you have any illusions of watching your grandchildren grow up in London, forget them, your children won’t be able to afford the housing.