UK banks embroiled in Russian money laundering scandal

Helen Cahill
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(FILES) A London office block known as t...
The government owns shares in one of the banks involved (Source: Getty)

Several UK banks have been accused of handling $740m in Russian money as part of a global money laundering scheme.

The Guardian reported that HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays were being questioned about an international money laundering scheme.

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The scheme allowed $20bn of Russian money to be moved out of the country between 2010 and 2014, cash that was believed to be either stolen or of "criminal origin". It reportedly involved 500 people, including oligarchs, bankers and members of Russia's current spy force.

Evidence on the banks was collected globally and was first given to the Independent in 2014 by the Organised Crime and Corruption and Reporting Project in 2014. The documents detail 70,000 transactions, nearly 2,000 of which involved banks in the UK.

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Barclays said it "complies with the rules and regulations in all the jurisdictions".

In a statement, HSBC said:

HSBC is strongly committed to fighting financial crime. The Bank has systems and processes in place to identify suspicious activity and report it to the appropriate government authorities. This case highlights the need for greater information sharing between the public and private sectors, each of whom holds important information the other does not.

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