UK Political Process Is Polluted By Dirty Russian Money: Bill Browder

14 February 2019, 13:15

One of the leading activists against corruption has told LBC that the UK is failing to act because politics is polluted by dirty Russian money.

Bill Browder has been campaigning for the introduction of the Magnitsky Act around the world, which stops corrupt people bringing their ill-gotten money into western democracies.

That law has been passed in a number of countries, including the UK and the US. In the US, there are 150 people on the Magnitsky list. In Canada, there are 70. There are another 70 in Lithuania and 49 in Latvia and Estonia. There are zero in the UK, despite the law being passed.

Vladimir Putin, who has named Bill Browder one of his biggest enemies
Vladimir Putin, who has named Bill Browder one of his biggest enemies. Picture: PA

Speaking to James O'Brien, Mr Browder said: "These Russian gangsters - guys in suits who are ministers in Russia - their modus operandi is to steal money in Russia and then live it up here in London and Paris and New York and Madrid.

"You see them everywhere. You hear Russian spoken in Harrod's and in Belgravia, walking down the Chands Elysée in Paris. That's what these guys like to do.

"By taking that away from them, it's not justice in terms of prosecuting people for torture and murder, but it's a lot better than total impunity, which is what these people have been enjoying."

Bill Browder in the LBC studio
Bill Browder in the LBC studio. Picture: LBC

So why has nobody been held to account by the Magnitsky Act in the UK? Mr Browder believes Russian money is at the centre of it.

He explained: "My theory is - and I have evidence to back up my theory - the political process in this country is polluted by dirty Russian money.

"There are members of the House of Lords, there are former government officials who are on the Russian payroll, getting money from Russia to ease sanctions, to make sure that these sanctions don't bite.

"I believe that money has created a situation where zero people have been sanctioned here, whereas in other countries where perhaps it's not as polluted, a lot of people have been sanctioned.

"There are people in the House of Lords from both Conservative and Labour who are on record publicly having taken money from Russians to keep Russians off sanctions lists."

Previously, Bill has been in the LBC studio to tell the remarkable story of how he become Vladimir Putin's number one enemy.

You can watch his tale - which sounds like something from a spy novel - in the video above.