The British Parliament's foreign affairs committee has slammed the government for "turning a blind eye" to the role London's financial centre plays in laundering the proceeds of Russian corruption, saying it helps the Kremlin finance its aggressive foreign policy.
The committee says that despite the tough rhetoric over the nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin's allies were able to continue "business as usual" in the U.K.
The committee says "the use of London as a base for the corrupt assets of Kremlin-connected individuals is now linked to a wider Russia strategy with implications for the UK's national security."
The report, entitled Moscow's Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK, adds that failing to act signals that "the U.K. is not serious about confronting the full spectrum of President Putin's offensive measures."
The Guardian reported that Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, the committee chair, said:"The scale of damage that this 'dirty money' can do to UK foreign policy interests dwarfs the benefit of Russian transactions in the City. There is no excuse for the UK to turn a blind eye as President Putin's kleptocrats and human rights abusers use money laundered through London to corrupt our friends, weaken our alliances, and erode faith in our institutions."
In April, he Trump administration announced new sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs and 17 top government officials on Friday, in a move that targets Vladimir Putin's inner circle for "malign activity" including meddling in the 2016 US election and other aggressions.
"The Russian government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement announcing the sanctions, reported Time. "The Russian government engages in a range of malign activity around the globe, including continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies, and malicious cyber activities. Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government's destabilizing activities."