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Gigantic money-laundering affair revealed in Europe

Categories : Cash is efficient
May 9, 2017
Tags : Europe, Fraud, Money laundering, Russia
Russian criminals transferred more than $20 billion stolen money in Europe via Moldovan, Latvian and British banks.
Communication Team / Equipo de Comunicación
Last March, the Guardian revealed a vast money-laundering scandal involving at least $20 billion moved out of Russia and processed in Europe. Numerous well-known British banks are involved in the fraud scheme, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Coutts or Lloyds, as well as US and Russian banks. The “Global Laundromat” affair – as the world press calls it – is believed to have lasted between 2010 and 2014 and was finally exposed by the police of Latvia and Moldova. This represents 40 tons in €500 banknotes.
The operation was allegedly run by a group of about 500 Russian criminals and might involve politically influential and wealthy people including oligarchs, members of the FSB (KGB’s successor), bankers and a cousin of Vladimir Putin himself. The money entered Europe via cash transfers to Moldovan accounts in the frame of a fake debt repayment between two companies, one based in Russia and the other in Moldova. 
The money was then sent to Latvian banks and dispersed in Europe mainly through UK banks and shell companies. The money has also been used to buy diamonds, furs, and chandeliers and to pay prestigious schools’ boarding fees. British-registered FVC played a significant role in the fraud scheme, and many owners remain anonymous because of offshore laws. 
The story was first reported by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) – a consortium formed of investigative centers, media and journalists across the globe – and then shared with media partners based in 32 countries. 70,000 transactions and 96 countries were scrutinized during the investigation. In 2016, various former and current officials of the Moldovan central bank were arrested and Latvian bank Trasta was closed due to money-laundering activities. 
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