MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The UK campaign against alleged Russian corruption in the country and illicit financial flows looks laughable, since London has long been attracting foreign funds regardless of their origin and refusing to extradite criminals charged in Russia with corruption, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.
"Now we see high-profile cases emerge in light of the parliament’s reports which are, in one or another way, linked to a certain new campaign for keeping the money flowing to the United Kingdom ‘clean.’ But it is hilarious! What ‘clean’ money one can talk about in the United Kingdom? For the United Kingdom it has always been vital to have money. It has always been so. Over centuries, [London] has been conducting a state policy on attracting money regardless of its origin," Zakharova said at a briefing.
The spokeswoman also recalled that the United Kingdom had long been declining Russian requests for extradition of people accused of committing crimes, including economic ones.
The ministry's statement comes in response to a report dubbed "Moscow's Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK" published on Monday by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK parliament’s lower house. In the document, the UK lawmakers said that Kremlin-connected individuals had been storing and laundering money in London as part of a wider Russian strategy aimed at undermining the global rules-based system, harming UK allies and destroying the mutually-reinforcing international networks which uphold the UK foreign policy. The paper called on the UK government to fight against this alleged practice for the sake of national security. The lawmakers also urged the government to sanction individuals linked to what they called hostile regimes.
In April, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Saak Karapetyan said that within the last 15 years the United Kingdom had declined 60 out of 83 Russian requests for extradition of people accused of crimes, with 72 of them charged with embezzlement of over $8.5 billion.
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