THE CITY minister and MP for Salisbury, John Glen, vowed last night to ramp up efforts against Russian dirty money channeled through the UK’s financial system.
Glen’s pledge came after Prime Minister Theresa May said that the attempted murder of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March this year was carried out by Russian military officers and “almost certainly approved at a senior level of the Russian state”.
In a dramatic statement to MPs, May said two suspects – Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov (pictured, right) – were “officers from the Russian military intelligence unit also known as the GRU”.
She addressed a hushed House of Commons shortly after police said they had charged the suspects with multiple counts including conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.
Glen told City A.M.: “As the Prime Minister made clear, we’re committed to countering the Russian state’s malign activity. This includes tackling illicit finance in the City, and corrupt elites.”
“There is absolutely no place for these people, or their money, in our country or our financial system,” he added.
“The National Crime Agency has radically stepped up its activity against illicit finance entering our country and has increased the number of investigations,” said Glen.
“In addition we are reviewing all Tier 1 visas granted before 5 April 2015, many of which are issued to wealthy Russians.”
Earlier this year, following the attack, a committee of MPs accused the government of failing to stop “kleptocrats and human rights abusers... [using] the City of London to launder their ill-gotten funds to circumvent sanctions”.
Tom Tugendhat MP, chair of the committee, said last night: “There’s a lot more we could do. We need to focus not just on corrupt individuals hiding cash but those who are enabling it.
“Suspicious activity should be reported but there are estate agents, accountants, lawyers and private schools not reporting activities that are questionable and that is something we also need to look at. We need to ensure that London’s markets aren’t used to evade sanctions.”
The UK has obtained a European Arrest Warrant in case the men are found in the EU. Russia does not extradite its citizens.