go to top
A property in Hampstead, north London, which is the home of Kazakh national Nurali Aliyev. A property in Hampstead, north London, which is the home of Kazakh national Nurali Aliyev and is the subject of an Unexplained Wealth Order, March 12, 2020 (Photo by Ben Cawthra for Sipa via AP Images).

Is the U.K. Finally Getting Serious About Cracking Down on Dirty Money?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The United Kingdom has long been infamous as a money-laundering haven, with hundreds of billions of dollars in dirty money passing through its financial system just in recent years. In 2017, the British government decided to deal with all this dirty money by enacting the Unexplained Wealth Orders, a series of regulations allowing authorities to identify and seize assets related to potential corruption and money-laundering cases. But in their three years of existence, the government has pursued a grand total of just one case under the orders, against the wife of a prominent former banker from Azerbaijan, who had fallen afoul of the regime in Baku. It identified less than $50 million in suspect payments—a small fraction of the total suspicious transactions processed by British financial institutions.

Yet the promise of the Unexplained Wealth Orders may now be coming to fruition. Last month, British investigators from the National Crime Agency began legal proceedings to seize assets belonging to two relatives of Kazakhstan’s former dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev: His daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, and his grandson, Nurali Aliyev. British authorities claimed the two acquired some of London’s toniest properties using questionable financing: a huge Chelsea apartment, a mansion in Highgate overlooking one of the most exclusive golf clubs in all of Europe, and another mansion nearby along one of the most expensive stretches of real estate in Britain, on what is known as the city’s “Billionaires’ Row.” British investigators claim that the houses were financed with proceeds from crimes committed by Aliyev’s father, Rakhat Aliyev, a former deputy head of Kazakhstan’s state security services. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.