News

A Report is highlighting the UK’s role as a facilitator of “financial crime.”

15/01/2021

The UK Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) published on 9 December a report on:

  • The misuse of the UK’s legal system for the facilitation of financial crime and corruption and its impact on media freedom,

The report argues that:

  • The UK continues to be a destination for illicit money and a hub for enablers supporting corrupt individuals.

The second publication in the Unsafe for Scrutiny series serves to highlight two interlinked concerns:

  1. Firstly, the impact the UK’s facilitation of international financial crime and corruption has on media freedom, particularly when connected to political elites in countries with poor democratic records.

  1. Secondly, the enduring role London continues to hold as an international libel capital, despite reforms to English and Welsh law in 2013 intended to crack down on libel tourism, and the impact such legal action, or even the threat of it, in the UK can have on journalists here and abroad.

Recent FPC research claims that 61 per cent of journalists in 43 countries found the UK link to their financial crime investigations, while 31 per cent reported they were subject to legal

threats (known as strategic litigation against public participation, SLAPP) originating in the UK.

At a launch event, British investigative journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown urged the government to end offshore secrecy and ensure fair sharing of information to facilitate investigations into illicit money trails.

Among other recommendations included in the report, speakers insisted on the need for the UK government to launch an independent inquiry into the ‘London laundromat’ and its enablers, following the publication of the UK parliament Intelligence and Security Committee’s Russia report in July 2020.

The government is also advised to expedite the implementation of the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, adopt legislative measures to combat SLAPP and ensure all violations against

journalists are brought to justice.

FPC press release https://fpc.org.uk/publications/unsafe-for-scrutiny-12-2020-publication/

FPC report https://fpc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Unsafe-for-Scrutiny-December-2020-publication.pdf