I have been away for a week in rural Suffolk; we stayed in a house built in 1460, and the whole county lives in about 1950, so we had no phone reception, no Internet access and therefore *gasp* no way to keep up with money laundering developments. (We did spend some time in the penny arcade in Southwold, where a friend asked whether it would be a good way to launder money, but as it took us forty minutes to get rid of £1.50 in 2p pieces and come out with a small packet of crayons as our prize, probably not, no.) So for this back-to-work blog, before I catch up with everything, I will share with you something I read on holiday – the old-fashioned way, in a paper magazine.
A couple of weeks ago, the Economist featured an interesting article about Russian émigrés living in London. Cynic that I am, I scanned it for the words “money laundering”, and my cynicism was soon rewarded. It turns out that those in the know are now running “kleptocracy tours” of London, taking coachloads of the curious around the boltholes purchased by Russians in London, in order to “publicise how corrupt regimes launder their fortunes in London’s property market”. (Mind you, some of the estate agents involved might be sitting a bit less comfortably since that “Panorama” exposé last summer – now that all and sundry can pinpoint the properties, surely someone will think of checking the due diligence that went into those sales.) But back to the bus: since turning fifty I find that people ask me much more frequently about my retirement plans, and running money laundering tours of cities sounds like fun. I could point out dodgy financial institutions, and homes of known launderers, and scenes of famous laundering trials. All I need is a catchy trading name: suggestions please.