Monday, February 1, 2016

How can you tell a multinational from the Mafia? You can’t

Roberto Saviano, the author of the highly acclaimed book 'Gomorrah'
Have you paid your tax bill? Of course you have, like a good citizen. 31 January is the deadline for many of us to do that, or face a fine. But as you walk through the streets of London it is hard to shake off the feeling that some people aren’t playing fair – either outside or inside the law. If that’s true, what can we do about it?

There’s a mansion in the back streets of Belgravia that has been shuttered up for years. The lights are off, nobody’s home. “Haven’t seen anybody in there, ever,” says a builder in a hard hat working on the house next door. He won’t say who for. The new owners want a subterranean swimming pool but they don’t want their names known.

The empty property next door is allegedly owned by a Russian who is being investigated for money laundering, but there is no way to know if that’s true. Criminals are using British laws – with their high regard for privacy – to hide behind anonymous companies and buy luxury properties in the capital, laundering the dirty money they’ve made from drug deals or stole from schools and hospitals back home.

“Today the City of London (together with Wall Street) is the world’s largest laundry for dirty money from the drug trade,” says Roberto Saviano, author of the highly acclaimed book Gomorrah, about Naples’s equivalent of the Mafia.  (more...)


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