It’s high time to crack down on London lawyers protecting Putin’s oligarchs - by Lucy Burton

London, it's said, is the money-laundering capital of the world. From divorces and libel claims to take-overs and mergers, oligarchs have chosen to settle their cases in London and City lawyers have filled their boots, according to Lucy Burton in today's Telegraph - 28.02.22.

But all of this may now be coming to an end as the UK government in collaboration with others around the world, take further measures to ratchet up the pressure on Putin's inner circle.

"The London law firms which have long had relationships with Russian oligarchs are the central focus. Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, has argued that some City lawyers are now holding up sanctions against their oligarch clients by threatening legal action.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, one of those briefed, said Truss had called oligarch lawyers in London “very litigious” and told MPs she had received several warning letters from them. He called on the Government to name and shame these firms.

The Government should not only name and shame these firms, but finally crack down on the alliance between London lawyers and pro-Putin oligarchs which has made MPs feel queasy for years."

London's reputation as a financial laundromat has alarmed politicians and foreign policy think tanks alike and tarnished the legal sector's reputation internationally.

"Politicians called for a cleanup of the legal, accounting, property and public relations industries ­alleged to be part of a London “laundromat” almost two years ago, alarmed that law firms were able to work for bad actors without having to disclose their connections and accusing these advisers of “promoting the nefarious interests of the Russian state”.

It is not just politicians which have sounded alarm bells. Around the same time as the parliamentary report raised concerns, a study by foreign policy think tank the Henry Jackson Society accused lawyers of being “pin-striped enablers” of murky money, allowing UK courts to be exploited so that dirty cash can be laundered out of Russia.

"Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy was right last week when he said that the best way to defend the rule of law is to follow it. “If we are to be credible champions of international law, our leaders must practice the laws they set at home,” he said. Concerns about the ties between UK courts and dirty money have been there for years. It is a tragedy that nothing was done earlier."

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article for the Telegraph by Lucy Burton - It’s high time to crack down on London lawyers
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