The National Crime Agency – dubbed Britain’s version of the FBI – has begun an inquiry into the UK end of a $20bn (£13bn) money-laundering scam revealed by The Independent involving some 19 British shell companies.
The investigation highlighted the ease with which Britain is being used by organised crime syndicates to set up sham businesses with which to make ill-gotten cash look legitimate.
Sources of the money could range from people trafficking to corruption and large-scale tax avoidance.
NCA officers have just returned from Moldova, where they have been working with police there on the complex investigation.
Moldova is taking the lead on the so-called “money laundrette” because the hub of the alleged activity took place there through carefully staged court cases tried by Moldovan judges.