The National Crime Agency has conducted a major operation to arrest a wealthy Russian businessman on suspicion of offences including money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury.
The 58 year old man was arrested on Thursday (1 December) at his multi-million-pound residence in London by officers from the NCA’s Combatting Kleptocracy Cell.
A 35 year old man, employed at the premises, was arrested nearby on suspicion of money laundering and obstruction of an NCA Officer after he was seen leaving the address with a bag found to contain thousands of pounds in cash.
A third man, aged 39, who is the former boyfriend of the businessman’s current partner, was arrested at his home in Pimlico, London, for offences including money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.
More than 50 officers were involved in the operation at the businessman’s London property. A number of digital devices and a significant quantity of cash was recovered following extensive searches by NCA investigators.
All three individuals were interviewed by the NCA, and have been released on bail.
Graeme Biggar, Director General of the NCA, said: “The NCA’s Combatting Kleptocracy Cell, only established this year, is having significant success investigating potential criminal activity by oligarchs, the professional service providers that support and enable them and those linked to the Russian regime.
“We will continue to use all the powers and tactics available to us to disrupt this threat.”
This operation is the latest in a series of interventions by the NCA, which works to disrupt the activities of corrupt international business figures and their enablers.
To date, the NCA has secured nearly 100 disruptions – actions that demonstrably remove or reduce a criminal threat – against Putin-linked elites and their enablers.
These include a number of Account Freezing Orders (AFOs) over accounts held by individuals who are closely linked to sanctioned Russians. The Cell has also investigated and taken discreet action against a significant number of elites who impact directly on the UK, as well as targeting less conventional routes used to disguise movements of significant wealth, such as high value asset sales via auction houses.
Internationally, the NCA’s work has assisted in the freezing of numerous properties, eight yachts and four aircraft, and it continues to work in concert with the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation to ensure that other assets in the UK are frozen, as well as with global partners to target illicit wealth held abroad.