UK

Are the new EU anti-tax avoidance measures the reason behind the Russian donations the Leave campaign?

Outside the EU, the Russian billionaires will continue to use the UK as a safe tax haven and continue their tax-dodging practices without having to be subjected to the new EU anti-tax avoidance measures introduced by Brussels, which is why they are investing heavily in Arron Banks’ Brexit and British properties.

Following Electoral Commission’s alarming statement that it has “reasonable grounds to suspect” that Mr Banks was “not the true source” of £8,000,000 in donations to the pro-Brexit campaign attributed to him, The National Crime Agency started an investigation into allegations that Russians donated vasts amount of money to his Leave campaign.

According to the Financial Times:

“Following Electoral Commission’s alarming statement that it has “reasonable grounds to suspect” that Mr Banks was “not the true source” of £8m in donations to the pro-Brexit campaign attributed to him The National Crime Agency started an investigation into allegations that Russians donated vasts amount of money to his Leave campaign.”

https://www.ft.com/content/4610a4be-dde2-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661c

As reported by his South African business partner, Christopher Kimber, Banks ended up being in Russia seeking to raise funds around that time:

“Banks had been dealing with Russians who contemplated investing in the mines…. I was informed by Banks that he had travelled to Russia and discussed with them the diamond opportunities as well as gold mining opportunities in Russia. He further indicated that he would be meeting with the Russians again during November [2015].”
https://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-court-documents-claim-new-arron-banks-links-with-russia

After the cash injection received, Banks started making large donations to political causes including the £8m to the Brexit campaigns.
The UK’s Electoral Commission stated:

“We have reasonable grounds to suspect that: Mr Banks was not the true source of the £8m reported as loans”.
https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/roles-and-responsibilities/our-role-as-regulator-of-political-party-finances/sanctions/report-on-investigation-into-payments-made-to-better-for-the-country-and-leave.eu

The UK’s Electoral Commission’s statement led to the 2018 criminal investigation of Banks, and according to Channel 4:
“Banks states there was no Russian money and sent financial statements to the BBC’s Newsnight programme to prove it but an email attached to the statements included the text “Redact the reference for Ural Properties and any references which include sensitive info e.g. the account numbers the money was sent from.” Newsnight featured a story about this on 8 November 2018. It remains to be seen which accounts these are or what Ural Properties, a Gibraltar-based company, does.”
https://www.channel4.com/news/exclusive-court-documents-claim-new-arron-banks-links-with-russia

The Conservative-led Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee determined Russia’s engagement during the Brexit campaign, whereby they concluded that in the last 48 hours of the campaign, “156,252 Russian accounts tweeting about #Brexit’ and posting over 45,000 Brexit messages.”

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcumeds/363/36308.htm#_idTextAnchor033

The report also reveals that at the time of the EU referendum, RT and Sputnik, Kremlin’s controlled media, contained more pro-Brexit content on Twitter for than either Leave.EU or Vote Leave.

The Russian federation manages to lose up £20bn a year in tax evasion schemes with a further £32bn leaving the country illicitly in 2012.

According to the central bank governor, Sergei Ignatiev, said that “shadowy operations” to transfer money abroad were worth the equivalent of about 2.5% of Russia’s annual GDP.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/21/russia-loses-52-billion-tax-evasion

However, according to Reuters, in 2011, the Russian tax revenues lost to tax evasion mounted up to $221 billion, which makes up 43% of their national GDP.
https://www.reuters.com/article/idIN180300171820111213

Therefore, considering that the EU decided to end tax avoiding practices within its member states, thus ending the tax evading practices by the Russian oligarchs, it is hardly surprising why the latter backed the Leave campaign.

According to the Guardian, the Russians are also investing in the UK property market:

“Prominent Russian figures with ties to the Putin regime own British properties worth nearly £1.1bn, mostly in London, although the true value is likely to be far greater because buyers can take advantage of offshore secrecy loopholes left open under Theresa May.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/17/russian-elite-must-reveal-how-they-paid-for-uk-property-say-mps

Outside the EU, the Russian billionaires will continue to exploit the UK as a safe tax haven without having to be subjected to the new EU anti-tax avoidance measures introduced by Brussels, which is why they are currently investing heavily in British properties.

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