When you think of global money-laundering havens for drug cartels and terrorist groups, usually you think of countries with ineffective government regulators or a lack of legal ramifications for white-collar crime.
Yet, according to one internationally acclaimed crime expert London—one of the world’s most developed and lawful cities—is the money-laundering capital of the world drug trade.
In an interview with The Independent, Roberto Saviano, author of “Gomorrah,” the international best seller that exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organization, said, “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”
Saviano isn’t alone in his warning. A recent statement from the U.K. National Crime Agency issue a warning that “hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through U.K. banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”
In the interview, Saviano mentions the record US$1.9 billion U.S. fine issued to HSBC in 2012 for money laundering for Middle Eastern terrorist groups and the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel. “Mexico is its heart and London is its head,” he said
“Sure, HSBC has been reported but there has been no debate. You need to fill the papers. The intellectuals have said nothing. [U.K. Prime Minister David] Cameron has said nothing. It’s his country. How can he say nothing on such a piece of news?”
Saviano goes on to claim the U.K. as well as Austrian government is intentionally blocking anti-money-laundering legislation from the EU. “They will carry on like that until someone gets killed here by the Russians or the Italians,” he said, going on to note that he believes the political influence of big banks and their funding of politics is to blame.
“Every time there’s an election campaign, I wonder if someone will come forward and start a campaign on money laundering … but it never happens. The reason, I am convinced but I don’t have the proof, is that a good part of the money that comes from money laundering goes into the election campaign. Not illegally, legally, because it can come in because of a lack of regulation,” he said.