Intelligence Committee’s brutal swipe at Boris Johnson for ignoring Russian cash fears

The Committee savaged the Prime Minister for ignoring their repeated calls to ensure the UK is ‘no longer a safe haven for the oligarchy and their enablers’

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Johnson discusses sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs

Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has vilified Boris Johnson for ignoring years of warnings over the UK’s links to Russian money.

The Committee sent the Prime Minister a copy of the Russia report along with a detailed classified annex more than two years ago highlighting the need to disrupt “illicit financial activity”.

The Russia report made a crushing assessment of Moscow’s attempts to meddle with the UK’s political system, influence decision makers and seek kompromat to damage their opponents.

At the time, the committee said the Government was “slow to recognise the existence of the threat” of Russian meddling and influence.

Today the ISC has said: “We welcome today the long-awaited legislation on Economic Crimes.

Julian Lewis, Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee


UK Parliament)

“As the Intelligence and Security Committee made very clear in its ‘Russia’ report, the UK has been welcoming Russian money for many years with few questions – if any – being asked about the provenance of this considerable wealth.

“When we sent our report, together with a detailed classified annex, to the Prime Minister over two years ago, we highlighted then that there was an urgent need for the UK Government to disrupt this illicit financial activity, and questioned the efficacy of the measures which were in place.

“It is hoped now that this new legislation is at least the first step toward giving the authorities – and in particular the National Crime Agency which leads this effort – the necessary clout and greater powers to ensure the UK is no longer a safe haven for the oligarchy and their enablers.”

The report notes an influx of Russian money into the UK – and into “Londongrad” in particular – following the introduction of the “investor visa” scheme in 1994.

It says the scheme allowed a route for dirty money to be “recycled” in “what has been referred to as the London ‘laundromat’.

And it’s not just money that was laundered.

It says the money was invested in building influence across the UK establishment – including “PR firms, charities, political interests, academia and cultural institutions” – all of whom were “willing beneficiaries of Russian money.”

The report said this influx of cash to worthy causes contributed to a “reputation laundering” process.

It goes on to say: “In brief, Russian influence in the UK is ‘the new normal’, and there are a lot of Russians with very close links to Putin who are well integrated into the UK business and social scene, and accepted because of their wealth.

“This level of integration – in ‘Londongrad’ in particular – means that any measures now being taken by the Government are not preventative but rather constitute damage limitation.”

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