As part of a campaign against dishonest billionaires, Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) announced on Saturday that it had detained a “rich Russian businessman” on suspicion of money laundering and other offenses.
According to the NCA, the 58-year-old was one of three men who were detained on Thursday at a “multi-million-pound house” in London by members of the Combatting Kleptocracy Cell (CKC).
According to Russian news outlets, the Russian embassy in London has requested information from the British Foreign Office regarding the circumstances and reasons behind the businessman’s detention as well as the terms of his custody.
The man was detained on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office (interior ministry) and conspiracy to commit perjury, the NCA said.
A 35-year-old man was arrested at the premises after he was seen leaving with a bag which contained thousands of pounds in cash. A former boyfriend, 39, of the businessman’s partner was also arrested at the property, police said. All three have been released on police bail.
NCA Director General Graeme Biggar said the CKC, which was set up earlier this year to tackle attempts to evade sanctions and to disrupt corrupt elites, was having a significant impact on oligarchs’ criminal activity, the professional service providers that supported them and those linked to the Russian government.
According to the NCA, it has so far prevented nearly 100 “disruptions” against elites connected to President Vladimir Putin and his facilitators, measures that clearly removed or diminished a criminal threat.
Several asset freeze orders on accounts held by individuals connected to sanctioned Russians were among them.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain has so far imposed sanctions on more than 1,200 individuals and over 120 businesses.