Why does so much dirty money flow into the United Kingdom? UK wants to entice super wealthy to live there. In return for investing £2m in the UK, foreign investors were offered a “golden visa” allowing them to live there. After five years, they qualified for permanent residency. According to Transparency International, out of the 3,048 visas granted since the scheme began in 2008, 60% were awarded to Chinese and Russian nationals.
Analysis of the UK’s balance of payments data suggest that since the mid-1970s a bulk of the UK’s £133bn of hidden capital inflows into the UK was from Russia. This massive inflow of funds resulted in a booming property market.
Panama Papers show how a man from Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle had built a multimillion-pound portfolio of boutique hotels in Scotland and luxury homes in Mayfair, Marylebone and Hampstead in London. Prosecutors in Tripoli accuse Ali Dabaiba, who was head of Libya’s infrastructure fund for a decade, has been stealing money meant for hospitals, and schools.
James Ibori, a former governor of one of Nigeria’s oil-producing states, was jailed after admitting stealing £160m over eight years. He owned six houses in London – including a Hampstead mansion.
Transcrime, Italian transnational crime research centre, revealed that Italian mafias have taken over numerous UK businesses. The Sicilian Cosa Nostra has invested in gambling. The Naples Camorra has invested in public building contracts, restaurants, and property development in Scotland. The Calabrian ’Ndrangheta has invested in London property. Thus, the open arms of Great Britain not only invited dirty money but also criminals.
On 12 May 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a landmark international anti-corruption summit in London as part of global drive to expose, punish and drive out corruption. Isn’t this hypocrisy?