Police are investigating how £6.6m from a Russian organised crime group has been allegedly traced to a banking agency within the UK, the BBC has discovered.
US court docket papers have linked a number of the so-called “Magnitsky cash” – a £150m tax fraud scheme in Russia – to Renaissance Capital.
The data has been handed to police by Hermitage Capital, the unique sufferer of the Russian fraud.
Metropolis of London Police say an energetic investigation is below method.
Sergei Magnitsky was an auditor at a Moscow regulation agency when he found what he mentioned was an enormous fraud by Russian tax officers and law enforcement officials.
After reporting the alleged theft of $230m (£150m) to the authorities, he was himself detained in 2008 on suspicion of aiding tax evasion and died in custody in November 2009.
He acted as a authorized adviser for London-based Hermitage Capital Administration (HCM), the place colleagues insist the case in opposition to him was fabricated to make him halt his investigations.
Regardless of his dying Russian prosecutors determined to place him on trial – a case dismissed as a “circus” by his household and by HCM founder Invoice Browder, who was himself tried in absentia.
The US Justice Division highlighted the UK connection to suspected illicit funds after investigating how proceeds of the Russian tax fraud had been allegedly laundered into luxurious flats in New York.
US court docket paperwork, seen by the BBC, present alleged wire transfers from the Russian organised crime group going into the UK checking account of Renaissance Capital – a Russian funding banking agency, which has places of work in London.
The US investigation led to $6m being recovered by the New York district lawyer.
The recordsdata given to British police spotlight numerous “cash laundering crimson flags” over Renaissance Capital’s actions, though the US authorities haven’t instructed Renaissance performed a task in, or had been conscious of, the unique Russian tax fraud.
Renaissance Capital has been contacted by the BBC however has not supplied a response.
Mr Browder, who has campaigned for authorities to analyze the place the Magnitsky cash went, and who benefitted from the fraud, says the end result within the US ought to now immediate UK authorities to behave.
“This could present different regulation enforcement companies all over the world that this can be a strong case which ends up in large monetary recoveries and it is worthwhile to pursue,” he mentioned.
“It ought to present the Metropolis of London Police that the knowledge led to a major monetary restoration for the US and there’s a robust argument for them to dedicate sources to battle a a lot bigger doable discovery of cash laundering within the UK.”
The US lawyer’s workplace of New York mentioned the organised Russian crime group, together with corrupt Russian authorities officers, “engaged in a broad sample of cash laundering in an effort to conceal the proceeds of the fraud scheme”.
It mentioned in a fancy sequence of transfers by means of shell firms, the $230m from the Russian treasury was laundered into quite a few accounts in Russia and different international locations.
Mr Browder and different anti-corruption campaigners have urged authorities to do extra to clamp down on suspected “soiled cash”.
He mentioned corrupt overseas officers have to be prevented from having fun with lavish existence in locations like London and New York with the suspected proceeds of crime.
“It is a scary factor for the Russian authorities to see that their cash is just not protected within the West,” he mentioned.
A brand new Legal Funds Invoice was handed within the UK in April 2017 giving authorities stronger powers to freeze belongings the place suspected illicit wealth is flowing into the UK.
Duncan Hames from marketing campaign group Transparency Worldwide mentioned it was now time for authorities to “flip up the warmth”.
“The strongest legal guidelines are solely paper and not using a real dedication to implement them. We need to the police to actively examine cash laundering and it’s important they’re correctly resourced to take action.”