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Posts : 18379
Join date : 2015-05-20
Location : United States

Laundering Russian Money in London: Undercover Reporters Show You How It's Done

on Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:19 pm
The new hard-hitting exposé From Russia With Cash shows how dirty money from Russia and elsewhere is being laundered through London's high-end real estate market. Since debuting July 8 on Britain's Channel 4, the documentary has already sparked an international campaign to reform U.K. property laws.

The exposé follows a team of undercover reporters shopping for multi-million dollar apartments in London. Russian anti-corruption campaigner Roman Borisovich plays “Boris,” who claims to be a senior official from Russia's Health Ministry. Ukrainian investigative reporter Natalie Sedletska (of YanukovychLeaks fame) plays his mistress, “Nastya.”

In the course of viewing five apartments, ranging in price from approximately $4.5 to $23.5 million, the couple meets with a series of real estate agents from top London firms, and secretly records the encounters.

At each showing, “Nastya” first pretends to fall in love with the space. Next, “Boris” pulls the estate agent aside to say that he would like to purchase the property, but needs the deal to proceed anonymously. Boris explains that he will be buying the property with money pilfered from the state budget and doesn't want anyone in Moscow connecting a hole in the budget with the purchase. “Every [Health Ministry] contract brings a little bit to my pocket,” Boris tells each estate agent, following the planned script. “Needless to say, the money for this flat comes out of the government budget. [Therefore] discretion is the absolute priority.”

In every instance filmed, the estate agents appear willing to continue with the sales, which could net them commissions ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. Some of the agents even recommend law firms that specialize in hiding a buyer's identity and coach “Boris” on how to avoid potential legal problems. In the U.K., estate agents are required by law to submit “suspicious activity reports” to the National Crime Agency if they have concerns that the money being used to purchase properties might have been obtained through criminal means........................

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