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UK's targeting of Russian oligarchs as a national security threat is a sham

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Those who hanker for a transparent world where everybody knows each other's business are now on a roll.

Having browbeaten the House of Commons into enacting a statute seeking to impose public ultimate beneficial ownership (UBO) registers on the UK's overseas territories, such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), there are moves afoot to legally fortify this legislative decision by declaring it under the heading of national security.

The recent release of Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee report Moscow's Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK is a case in point. The document opens with reference to the March 2018 nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.

Russia continues to exert influence over the world stage. She does so in many ways, including clandestine cyber-attacks and not-so-clandestine military interventions in Crimea, Syria and elsewhere. Those who rule the Russian state have grown rich via an ongoing process of kleptocracy, with the resultant wealth invariably finding its surreptitious way to the four corners of the globe; the UK included.

The net result of all this attention has been a decision to increase economic sanctions on Russia, including individuals whose assets are already secreted away in the UK. However, the effectiveness of those sanctions has been questioned and described as 'business as usual' for the oligarchs, who have continued to launder their ill-gotten gains via London. In other words, the UK has failed to put its own house in order.

The Moscow's Gold report goes further. Not only does it criticise the government's lax response, it drags in the highly emotive and not-so-subliminal message that the UK's national security is at risk from Russian money laundering. Nobody can fail to understand the gravitas of the prevailing economic skullduggery being employed by the Russians – notwithstanding all the other nationalities currently taking advantage of the........

© International Business Times