Russian authorities have harshly criticized a report by British MPs alleging that people close to the Kremlin were hiding and laundering money in the United Kingdom, saying the claims show that anti-Russia rhetoric in Britain has reached unprecedented levels.
“We are witnessing Britain's rather unprecedented anti-Russian mania which is manifested in various ways,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday.
The comments came after the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons recommended that the British government take action against what it described as corrupt Russian money flowing through London. It said the government should also encourage a global crackdown on those alleged practices by Russia through persuading other governments to tighten loopholes in the existing sanctions regime.
Lawmakers in the British parliament made the recommendations based on their report that accused Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies of “hiding and laundering their corrupt assets in London.”
Peskov said London’s campaign of dissuading the Russian businessman from entering the British market would certainly backfire as investors from other countries may feel the tide.
“Many countries are working to improve their investment attractiveness and this I believe is a step in the opposite direction,” he said, adding, “I have no doubt that such actions won't go unnoticed by investors from other countries.”
Britain’s new allegations against Russia come amid heightened tensions between the two countries over recent poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter in a town south of the capital London.
London and several of its Western allies expelled Russian diplomats to protest Moscow’s alleged role in the poisoning, which they said had been carried out by a Soviet-era nerve agent. Russia retaliated in kind and never accepted the allegations.
The controversy over Russia’s alleged use of the British financial system to cleanse its money also come following reports that British authorities have deliberately delayed extending a visa for Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, who is believed to be close to Putin.
Abramovich, a prominent name in the British football for the past years, reportedly missed his team’s match against Manchester United in the FA CUP final on Saturday that ended with Chelsea’s victory.