A “wealthy Russian businessman” has been arrested on suspicion of offences including money laundering by a crime team targeting oligarchs.
The man, 58, was detained by officers from a specialist kleptocracy unit at his multi-million pound home in London, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.
The agency said the man was arrested on suspicion of offences including money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the Home Office and conspiracy to commit perjury as part of a major operation on Thursday.
A 35-year-old man employed at his residence was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering and obstruction of an NCA officer after he was seen leaving the address with a bag found to contain thousands of pounds in cash.
A third man, aged 39, who is the former boyfriend of the businessman’s current partner, was arrested at his home in Pimlico, London, on suspicion of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.
All three were interviewed by the NCA before being released on bail.
Graeme Biggar, director general of the NCA, said: “The NCA‘s Combatting Kleptocracy Cell, only established this year, is having significant success investigating potential criminal activity by oligarchs, the professional service providers that support and enable them, and those linked to the Russian regime.
“We will continue to use all the powers and tactics available to us to disrupt this threat.”
The NCA said it was the latest operation carried out as part of its efforts to disrupt the activities of corrupt international business figures and their enablers.
Almost 100 “disruptions” - actions that remove or reduce a criminal threat - have been carried out against Putin-linked elites and their enablers, including account freezing orders (AFOs) over accounts held by people closely linked to sanctioned Russians, according to the NCA.
“The cell has also investigated and taken discreet action against a significant number of elites who impact directly on the UK, as well as targeting less conventional routes used to disguise movements of significant wealth, such as high-value asset sales via auction houses,” the NCA said.
“Internationally, the NCA‘s work has assisted in the freezing of numerous properties, eight yachts and four aircraft, and it continues to work in concert with the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation to ensure that other assets in the UK are frozen, as well as with global partners to target illicit wealth held abroad.”
With additional reporting from the Press Association