Russian mafia ‘is using scheme meant for UK farmers to launder £60bn of dirty money’
By David Wooding, Sunday Political Editor
RUSSIAN mobsters have used a business scheme for British farmers to launder £60billion of dirty money, it is claimed.
The gangs are accused of exploiting a project set up 100 years ago to move cash undetected and finance criminal activities.
Russian gangs are accused of exploiting 100-year-old project
The racket was uncovered when the Government launched a probe following the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March.
They found just five frontmen were behind more than half of the 6,800 investments made in Scottish Limited Partnerships in the 18 months to May 2017.
Further inquiries showed that 17,000 opaque shell companies using the scheme were registered at only ten addresses.
These companies exist only on paper and have no office or employees but can hold investments.
A business scheme for British farmers to launder £60billion of dirty money was uncovered in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack
New laws are being drafted to stop international crooks infiltrating the scheme which is used fairly by thousands of UK firms.
Future users will be required to have a real link with Britain and do business — or at least have an address — in Scotland.
Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: “The UK has taken a leading role in the fight against money laundering.
“As we are seeing with Scottish Limited Partnerships they are being abused to carry out all crimes abroad, from money laundering to arms dealing.
"This cannot continue to go unchecked.”