The Economist said that for many years London was full of super-rich people who were looking for a stable home for reliable wealth, while others sought tax benefits, and others sought refuge for dirty money, or for the wealth they had. obtained to recycle. circumstances It is not considered criminal, but remains corrupt in the eyes of Westerners.
With a large cash center and less stringent regulations, Britain has always been an excellent money laundering center, with many luxury properties that can be used to launder dirty money. Legal and banking experts also provide secret and expensive services to help the rich evade taxes and reinvest illegal funds. It is therefore no wonder that the British crime-fighting Nationwide Crime Company reports that the country has a disadvantage in money laundering of up to 100 billion pounds ($ 125 billion) in 12 months.
Successive British governments did little to discourage financial flow, but the conflict in Ukraine led to a sudden change, with Britain imposing sanctions on more than 1,600 people and companies, along with more than 100 businessmen and rich people. individuals close to the Russian president.
The long-running Economic Crimes Act, which made it easier to prosecute corrupt people around the world, was hastened by parliament in March, less than three weeks after the crisis began in Ukraine.
The British government abolished the investor visa scheme, launched by John Mayne in 1994, which allowed any foreign investor to obtain residence in the country.
Money launderers flock to London as it offers financial secrecy to investors. Britain was the first country in the G20 to provide a public record of companies operating in it in 2016. However, those providing false statements are unlikely to be arrested. If so, the penalties are usually not too severe.
Another attraction for investors is Britain’s defamation laws, which are a popular spot for people fleeing blasphemy scandals. The Defamation Act of 2013 came with the aim of resolving this imbalance, but smart lawyers could find loopholes in their favor.
The purpose of the law was to promote the interests of the public defense developed by the law, and to increase the freedom and protection of journalists and writers. Yet smart lawyers used their skills to tug their opponents. Lawyers have developed their tactics to defend the rich, including sending long and bullying letters to journalists and NGOs investigating their clients to force them to drop the case.
The British government has tried to institute reforms and reduce this legal war, such as giving judges the right to dismiss dubious cases from the outset and reduce the restriction on what plaintiffs can get later. British MPs also demanded a ban on granting visas to lawyers working on behalf of the corrupt rich, and law firms such as “Carter Rack” and “Harbutel & Lewis” were consequently forced to deny their cases to the corrupt rich .
Confidentiality of the information
However, the lawyers had a different weapon as they used the Privacy and Information Privacy Act to file defamation lawsuits, in which they said the breach of privacy had damaged the reputation of their clients.
The other part of Britain’s problem is the courts. Although British judges have a good reputation, they do not do their due diligence when it comes to large fortunes in foreign jurisdictions that do not respect the law. Sometimes they give credence to poor evidence provided by the external authorities involved in the case. A British lawyer said: “Judges show a great deal of naivety and sometimes accept with confidence witness statements, financial documents and other evidence presented by corrupt governments because it is official.”
This is because many rich people have relationships with officials in that country who can falsify and control the information provided to the courts.
The British legal system also suffers from a lack of transparency. Although it is open, it is difficult to know when and where the hearings will be held, in addition to the fact that it is difficult to obtain court documents because it is very expensive.
There is another problem related to the British court system, which is its practice of the “cost transfer” system. The loser pays part or all of the costs of litigation, which means that whoever has a lot of money does not have a problem paying his opponent’s bill. All of this makes the litigation problem very costly because the lawyer may charge high fees by convincing his clients that if he wins the case, his opponent will pay the bill. The High Court bill does not deter the rich, who are suing each other in British courts without considering the costs.
The fourth and most important part of Britain’s fight against dirty money is law enforcement. Britain’s total budget for combating crime is £ 850 million. A small amount, no more than £ 43 million, goes from the budget to the pursuit of international crimes.
A report entitled “The Downside of Kleptocracy in the UK”, published by the think tank Chatham Home in 2021, said Britain had adopted a “risk-based” strategy to combat money laundering, in which many policing delegated to banks word. lawyers and others in the non-public sector. . However, he concludes: “Failure to enforce and enforce regulations, as well as exploitation of loopholes by skilled enablers, means that little has been implemented in the wake of the prevention of kleptocratic wealth and political agendas around Britain. to enter. “