‘Kleptocracy’ unit goes after Vladimir Putin’s millions of pounds of personal wealth stashed in London
Vladimir Putin is believed to have hidden millions of pounds of his personal fortune in London, with Britain’s new ‘kleptocracy’ unit set to launch an investigation.
The Telegraph understands that the Russian president will be investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA), in conjunction with intelligence services.
A team will attempt to identify all assets held by Putin in the UK, including through known associates and oligarchs.
The source said, “There are people working there now. This is what the “kleptocracy” team will devote its time to. The unit will track down Putin’s money and that of his cronies.
Putin is accused of amassing vast wealth, having allegedly taken bribes over Kremlin-approved deals involving regime-friendly tycoons.
Bill Browder, a British-American financier who was instrumental in orchestrating sanctions against Putin’s closest associates, told a 2017 US Senate hearing that Putin’s personal wealth could reach $200 billion. dollars, making him “the richest man in the world”.
“Corrupt Russian assets hidden in the UK”
Boris Johnson announced at the start of the war that he was setting up an “anti-kleptocracy cell” within the NCA to target “corrupt Russian assets hidden in the UK”.
The government has placed Putin under sanctions, which means that all assets identified by the ANC will be frozen.
The new unit will not only investigate sanctions violations, but also corrupt elites, giving them a mission to look into Putin’s wealth.
His official reported annual income is around 10 million rubles, which equates to a salary of £70,000 a year.
An NCA source said Putin and his associates would be targeted, although the source stressed that finding assets directly linked to the Kremlin will not be straightforward.
The NCA can rely on intelligence agencies – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – to bolster any investigation when warranted.