Sanctioned Russian oligarchs from Vladimir Putin’s inner circle exploited a UK secrecy loophole left open by the government.
Arkady and Boris Rotenberg – judo partners of the Russian president – used a type of company that was not required to identify its real owners.
Ministers have acknowledged concerns that these companies, known as English Limited Partnerships (ELPs), have also been abused by criminals.
A joint investigation by the BBC and Finance Uncovered has discovered evidence linking a number of ELPs to fraud, terrorism and money laundering.
In 2016 and 2017, the government introduced measures that forced almost all UK companies to identify their real owners. ELPs were not covered by these new transparency laws.
Since then, more than 4,500 of them have been set up.
The BBC has worked with Finance Uncovered to analyse leaked documents and thousands of company records that show how ELPs have become a route to dodge anti-money laundering laws requiring the real owners, or persons of significant control, of UK companies to be disclosed. [Continue reading…]