I thought the situation was bad enough when I read this:

British bank HSBC has been accused of passing millions of pounds of transactions in a global money-laundering scandal with roots in Russian organised crime.

According to a report in The Guardian, it processed $545.3m (£437.3m) out of Russia between 2010 and 2014, mostly through its Hong Kong branch.

Other UK-based banks are also implicated, including Barclays, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, which, through NatWest and Coutts, is thought to have moved a total of $147m (£118m).

The Guardian article made the numbers even worse:

Britain’s high street banks processed nearly $740m from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB, the Guardian can reveal.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that at least $20bn appears to have been moved out of Russia during a four-year period between 2010 and 2014. The true figure could be $80bn, detectives believe.

They estimate a group of about 500 people were involved. These include oligarchs, Moscow bankers, and figures working for or connected to the FSB, the successor spy agency to the KGB.

Now it gets twisted. The following is a Twitter thread by Mark McGowan (the Artist Taxi Driver):

At least on the face of it, it seems Mrs May was handing out visas “like sweets” to Russian oligarchs who then laundered $740 million in (possibly ill-gotten) gains through British banks – at least one of whom has a bad reputation.

And now Mrs May is accusing the Russians – with very little evidence – of what is effectively an act of war on UK soil.

What the blazes is she doing, and does she seriously think she’ll come out smelling of roses at the end of it?


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