‘Russian elite and criminal money fully integrated in UK, Parliament committee finds’ – Money Laundering Bulletin

‘Russian elite and criminal money fully integrated in UK, Parliament committee finds’ – Money Laundering Bulletin

BCL partner, John Binns was interviewed by Money Laundering Bulletin for their latest article ‘Russian elite and criminal money fully integrated in UK, Parliament committee finds’.

Here’s a short extract from the article, which can be read in full on the Money Laundering Bulletin website here:

‘The UK is a “top Western intelligence target” for Russia, according to the UK Parliament Intelligence and Security Committee, which has examined the threat from illicit financial flows from that country as well as its espionage and cyber operations…

Although the National Crime Agency (NCA) can call on Unexplained Wealth Orders to recover criminal property, its Director General told the committee that where Russians have been investing in the UK over many years they are able to “make a case in court that their wealth is not unexplained, it is very clearly explained”. John Binns of BCL Solicitors in London is unimpressed with this argument: “The implication is that the long-standing audit trails are false, in which case the answer is surely to put the effort in to prove them wrong.” The NCA aired concerns as well that it could be outspent by the other side, but Binns says if the agency is not adequately resourced to use its UWO powers it begs the question why these were created in the first place.

Hostile activity be members of the Russian elite might, in the NCA’s view, be curbed alternatively by use of sanctions if these could be imposed on grounds of “serious and organised crime”. Binns wonders if this would not serve merely to shift responsibility from under-resourced law enforcement onto politicians: in that case it would transfer onto depository institutions, which would be obliged to block transactions and freeze the accounts of those targeted.’

This article was originally published by Money Laundering Bulletin on 22/07/20. You can read the full version on their website.

John Binns is a partner at BCL specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.