Scotland is still a financial secrecy exporter, laundering billions for Russia's crime-bosses and oligarchs


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/28/wholly-rude.html


#2

The whole idea of Brexit was to prevent the EU from clamping down on this sort of thing. But why limit it to Russian oligarchs? They are from all over the world.
Give it 20 years and the UK could well be a pariah state.


#3

It’s very appropriate that these corporate structures emulate matryoshka dolls.


#4

You mean the Big 4 accountants invented them?
At least there’s something we’re better at than the Germans and the French. Ingenious means of money laundering and tax evasion. Brexit Britain is open for business. Dobroye dyin, gospodin Oligarch.


#5

Looking at my Santa Claus matryoshka dolls all laid out… and yes! Now I truly see them for what they represent: insidious evil and runaway greed on a global scale! That’s right, Santa dolls! I’m looking at you!


#6

Somehow I expected better from Scotland.


#7

And plotting colour revolutions with American warmongers.


#8

It ain’t just the Russian (boo, hiss) oligarchs laundering billions. Doesn’t the Trumpismo own a golf course in Scotland?


#9

Well, they were colonised by wankers.


#10

Well, it’s not as if Scotland has an exotic Caribbean locale to fall back on for bucks, like the Virgin Islands, or the Cayman…

… hey, wait a minute, here…

:face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#11

Read about the Glencoe massacre, in which a member of the 1% used legal trickery to kill a lot of people and acquire an estate. Scotland is one of the most unequal countries on Earth, which is why so many Canadians and Australians have Scots roots.
Things didn’t change until the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution produced a class of prosperous city dwellers whose money came from engineering, not sheep.


#12

The post and linked articles are interesting and informative; alas, the title muddies things a wee bit.

Just for clarity though, Scotland doesn’t launder billions. Power over SLP’s (and associated things like Corporation Tax etc…) is a reserved power of the UK Parliament, and it’s the UK tax agencies and exchequer who deal with financial flows. (Scotland only has power over some of her affairs, the rest are reserved by the UK)

While the party in power in the Scottish Government would no doubt like Scotland to have all the powers and responsibilities that come with being an autonomous nation state, it currently does not.
As with all other issues reserved to the UK Government, all the Scottish Government can do is urge the UK Government to, in this case, find the will and the way to stop this abuse of SLP status.
(for example: https://www.holyrood.com/articles/news/uk-government-investigate-scottish-limited-partnerships)

These corporate vehicles are also used to anonymise and obfuscate the ownership of land estates in Scotland, and I’m sure there are a host of other corporate/financial shenanigans they enable. They clearly need to be fixed.

In the context of this story though, if there’s a constitutional entity laundering billions here - it’s the UK.


#13

Which are vast and make landholding in Scotland look like a Third World country. It’s not surprising that the SNP want independence but to remain in the EU, because that could facilitate land ownership reform.


#14

This is it. It’s the real heart of Brexit, and (un)surprisingly underreported.


#16

Indeed! Embarrassing inequality in land ownership.
Things are changing though, unfortunately things take time.
Of course the vested interests strenuously resist change, even exposure.

An independent Scotland in the EU certainly the SNP’s aim. The new EU tax transparency regulations would no doubt shake up some of those few massive landowners in Scotland. I believe there’s also work being done on researching some form of land value tax, which could conceivably also push land reform from a different angle.

@lounovak - Two golf courses, i believe.


#17

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