More than half the funds laundered in a major Russian scheme went via the UK

Caelainn Barr and Cath Levett

More than $20bn (£16bn) was shifted out of Russia between 2010 and 2014 in a large-scale money laundering operation called the Global Laundromat. The scheme was run by criminals with links to the Russian government, and moved billions in dirty money into Europe through shell companies.

The majority of the companies involved in laundering the money were registered in the UK. Over 50% of the money transacted through the Laundromat flowed to shell companies registered in London, Birmingham and Scotland.

One of the core companies that was involved in the greatest number of transactions was Seabon Ltd, which handled $9bn, according to the data. However, due to the nature of the scheme, which pinged billions of dollars around a network of companies, it is difficult to ascertain the exact amount that was laundered.

What we do know is that Seabon was registered to an address on Tooley Street in London, and purchased a hotel apartment in Prince’s Square in Bayswater at a cost of £13.2m. It was just one of more than 400 companies in the UK that received funds through the Laundromat scheme.

The figures come from an exclusive collaboration between the Guardian and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the results of which were published this week.

global laundromat russia money laundering data graphic
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