March 31, 2018

DONALD/VLAD & CO.:

Russia and the west's moral bankruptcy: Vladimir Putin's wealth extraction machine could not operate without our connivance (Edward Luce MARCH 28, 2018, Financial Times)

Most of the world aspires neither to Russia's politics nor its living standards. Alas, the west's chief ideological threat comes from within. Mr Putin's wealth extraction machine reveals the west's moral failings. His abettors could not do it without our connivance.

This is especially true of the US and Britain. In contrast to most western democracies, the US and UK permit anonymous ownership. Most democracies legally require the beneficial owner of an asset, such a company or property, to be made known. Not so in the largest English-speaking democracies. Roughly $300bn is laundered in the US every year, according to the US Treasury. Britain and its offshore financial centres take in about $125bn. Most of it goes undetected. The largest foreign share of it is Russian, according to Anders Aslund, a leading specialist on Russia's economy. Estimates of Mr Putin's personal wealth range from $50bn to $200bn. Even the lower figure would exceed the gross domestic product of most UN member states. Yet we have taken few steps to disrupt it.

Given that laundering Russian money is the only thing keeping his business afloat, let's not expect Little Finger to do anything about this, eh?

Posted by at March 31, 2018 7:51 AM

  

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