How corrupt Nigerians, others fuel UK economy with £3bn in dirty money
Corrupt Nigerian public office holders cutting across the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) among others have been fingered as part of the contingent of foreigners who have over the years moved about £3bn in ‘dirty money into the United Kingdom.
Investigation shows that China and Russia are among the countries with highest number of crooks who have taken advantage of loopholes in the UK financial system to move illicit
More than £3bn in ‘dirty money from corrupt countries was said to have been allowed into the UK as Home Office and banks left vital checks on the ‘golden visa’ scheme to each other
The Mailonline confirmed that a total of 1,126 of successful applicants came from China, 706 came from Russia.
Report says 3,000 entered UK with £3.15 billion of ‘questionable legitimacy’
About 3,000 invested at least £2million for permission to come and live in UK.
In the case of Nigeria, according to inquest by Political Economist Economic Intelligence Team, much of the cash stolen from Nigeria and moved to UK were moved through proxies including the children of these corrupt politicians. Such monies were invested in the lucrative UK property market.
A loophole in a visa scheme for the super-rich allowed thousands of people to bring at least £3 billion of potentially dirty money into the UK, research has found.
The research showed that about 3,000 individuals, many from ‘high corruption risk’ countries, invested at least £2million for permission to live in Britain, anti-corruption campaigners say.
Transparency International UK claims minimal checks were carried out on whether they had acquired their wealth legitimately.
The Home Office and UK banks reportedly both assumed the other performed necessary checks when applications were being processed for seven years before the loophole was found, a report says.
A total of 1,126 of the successful applicants came from China during the ‘blind faith’ period from 2008 to 2015.
The next largest national group were Russians, who numbered 706, the joint report by Transparency International and Global Witness found.
It said over that time, 3,000 high-net-worth individuals entered the UK with at least £3.15 billion of ‘questionable legitimacy’.
Naomi Hirst, a senior campaigner at Global Witness, which campaigns on corruption, said: ‘If you have a lot of money that you acquired through dubious means, securing a new place to call home far away from the place you stole from isn’t just appealing, it’s sensible.
‘Golden visa schemes offer a safe haven from authorities who might be looking to seize your stolen assets, and the freedom to travel without raising suspicion.
Anti-corruption campaigners say the Home Office failed to carry out checks as thousands of individuals invested at least £2million for permission to live in Britain +3
Anti-corruption campaigners say the Home Office failed to carry out checks as thousands of individuals invested at least £2million for permission to live in Britain
‘Given these inherent risks, these schemes must have the highest standards of due diligence checks, so that countries know who they are welcoming in and where their money came from.
‘Unfortunately, that is not what we are seeing. This approach exposes countries to corrupt individuals, and risks the corruption of the state itself as profit-hungry governments disregard the dangers and enter into a race to the bottom.’
The Government launched a review of visas awarded to rich Russians after the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal.
Successful applicants for tier one investor visas can stay in the UK for three years and then apply for a two-year extension.
They can apply to settle after two years if they invest £10 million or for £5 million after three years.
The report looked at golden visa schemes across the European Union and found that the UK was one of three countries, along with Hungary and Latvia, that had granted residency to more than 90% of applicants.
It said the high success rates raised doubts about the strictness of checks and controls in the process.
The UK is one of the top earners from a golden visa scheme, receiving around £435 million on average annually.
The Government launched a review of visas awarded to rich Russians after the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal (pictured, police at the scene in Salisbury) +3
The Government launched a review of visas awarded to rich Russians after the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal (pictured, police at the scene in Salisbury)
Since the scheme started in 2008, some 10,400 tier one visas have been granted to investors and their families, according to the report.
Laure Brillaud, anti-money laundering policy officer at Transparency International EU, said: ‘Poorly managed schemes allow corrupt individuals to work and travel unhindered throughout the EU and undermine our collective security. It is for this reason that EU-wide action is urgently required.
‘Brussels needs to define standards for these programmes and ensure that they are adhered to in all member states offering citizenship and residence permits for investment.’
- Additional reports from Mailonline