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follow the money David McWilliams says tackling dirty Russian money is similar to fighting drug dealing

The economist said problems tackling both issues are similar

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David McWilliams

David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Economist David McWilliams has said that the problems with tackling dirty Russian money is similar to the problems with tackling drug dealing.

Speaking on Episode 92 of Crime World, ‘The Russian Oligarchs who have bought up the streets of London’, McWilliams said that new oligarchs will emerge following sanctions on Russia’s wealthiest.

“It is very like drug dealing, because as long as you have a user, drugs are going to get to that person by various channels.”

“Sometimes it's one gang, sometimes it's another gang. I think it's the same with oil, gas etcetera,” he said.

“If China doesn't come on board with the West, which they will not, and they've no intention of because they're playing a much different game to us, Russian oil will go to China.

China is the biggest importer of commodities and resources.”

“So they're very happy to buy Russian oil at the moment because Russia is a distressed seller."

“Russia has loads of stuff they have to sell and the western Europeans are saying ‘we're not going to buy it’,” he explained.

“So they’ll give bargains to China and India and it’s the middle men who used to be the oligarchs.”

“New middlemen will arrive and maybe those flats in Eaton Square will bought by new middle men at a discount to the price Abramovich paid, and it starts again, that’s how it works.”

“It is a case of following the money.”

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“The faces might change, the families might change, the nationality might change but the end game is that middle men, the commodity traders or the oligarchs just re-emerge.”

It comes as the EU agreed on a fifth package of sanctions on April 8th.

Sanctions include a ban on importing all forms of Russian coal, which the EU say will result in a €8 billion loss of revenue per year for Russia.

Further financial measures will see a full transaction ban and asset freeze on four Russian banks, which are now totally cut off from the markets. The European Commission have said that this will further weaken Russia’s financial system.

There are also new sanctions on transport in which the EU have banned Russian and Belarusian freight road operators working in the EU. EU vessels are also banned from entering EU ports.

Targeted export bans on goods like quantum computing, sensitive machinery, and chemicals are due to be introduced in areas where Russia depends on EU supplies.

A further import ban will see EU countries banned from importing Russian goods like cement, alcohol, high-end seafood and wood.

“These latest sanctions were adopted following the atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the European Council.

“The aim of our sanctions is to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behaviour of the Russian troops and make clear to the decision makers in the Kremlin that their illegal aggression comes at a heavy cost.”

For more on the impact of Russia's sanctions, the lavish lifestyles of London's oligarchs and how the city became a Laundromat for dirty money listen to Crime World with Nicola Tallant ‘The Russian Oligarchs who have bought up the streets of London’.

Available to listen now, wherever you get your podcasts.

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