Foreign Shady Tycoons Making London Their Home









 Foreign Shady Tycoons Making London Their Home

 

When it comes to reputation, Britain ranks the first in the league of countries known for trust, fairness, rule of law and compassion. As a child living in India, I always had high admiration for England, because of their tenacity, perseverance, resolve and sacrifice to set up East India Company and then build an empire on which the sun never sets. The empire had establishments in Asia, Africa, Europe, America, and numerous islands across the world. This helped to unite most of the countries of the world through English language. Whilst working in Nigeria, I was doing a lot of surgical operations. Then I thought of moving to this great country to pursue my career by taking fellowship in surgery. When I arrived in the UK in 1981, things were not as rosy, as I thought. I had huge difficulty in getting jobs in surgical specialities mainly because the jobs were reserved for the professor’s acquaintances and cronies, but advertised in British Medical Journal (BMJ) to meet with the regulations.

 

In the UK, a lot of things are done conventionally, as it has no written constitution. I also got grip with anomalies such as the old boy network and private privileges, and the authority of unelected lords. I also noticed that the country was cashing in their reputation as a great country, by attracting wealthy people to settle here and allowing them to indulge in extravaganzas. We hear stories of high performance super cars of Arabs going crazy at night driving the neighbourhood of Knightsbridge mad. The authorities did little to curb these excesses, as the country needed their money. Since lived in Nigeria, I was interested in Nigerian politics, as the new democratically elected government under Shehu Shagari came into power. In December 1983, the elected government of Nigeria was overthrown in a military coup by the Nigerian army. The new military government jailed several government ministers for corruption and embezzlement while in office. However, the powerful former Transport Minister, Umaru Dikko, fled to London. The military claimed that Dikko used his position as Transport Minister to enrich himself in a series of racketeering scandals. As the UK government gave him abode, the Nigerian government took a daring step to kidnap him. In July 1984, Dikko was locked in a large crate labelled "diplomatic baggage" and addressed to the Nigerian Ministry of External Affairs in the then capital city, Lagos. UK extradition process is very cumbersome and can last as long as a decade, or for a good part of one’s life time. Extradition is different from deportation, where the person can be sent to any country.

 

General Augusto Pinochet , the military dictator of Chile who was notorious for his human rights abuse,kidnapping,torture and embezzlement, came to London in 1998 for medical treatment. Pinochet was declared a convicted criminal by the Spanish court, and put on the ‘wanted list’ to be extradited to Spain to face justice. But then Labour Party Home secretary Jack Straw freed him from house arrest and sent him back to Chile in 2000.

 Russian citizen ,Boris Mints currently lives in London with his three sons since 2018. Russian government is seeking his extradition on embezzlement charges. Boris Mints is worth more than $1.3 billion! High court in London has blocked his assets worth $572 million, but so far the UK government has not extradited or deported Boris Mints and he leads a luxurious life in London.

 Anil Ambani, Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi were once Indian tycoons, who all got abode in London easily. They are deemed to be fugitive economic offenders on the ‘wanted list’ by the Indian criminal courts. Anil Ambani was former chairman of Reliance Communications, Mallya the owner of Kingfisher airlines and Nirav Modi a diamond trader, who are all known to have embezzled billions of pound, impoverishing their mother country. The flamboyant tycoon, Mallya has been living in a palatial house in London for over four years, indulging in lavish lifestyle. Now Mallya is playing the card of asylum seeker, to live in the UK permanently at taxpayers expense! Extradition proceedings are extremely slow in the UK, and the fraudsters are not in a hurry to finish the proceedings. India has made nine extradition requests to the UK government, for the following fraudster;

Vijay Mallya, Embezzlement

Rajesh Kapoor (2011), for forgery and fraud

Tiger Hanif (2004) for involvement in terrorism

Atul Singh (2012) for sex crimes

Raj Kumar Patel (2009) for forgery

Jatinder Kumar Angurala for bank fraud

 Asha Rani Angurala (2014) for bank fraud,

Sanjeev Kumar Chawla (2004) for cricket betting 

Shaik Sadiq (2004) for conspiracy and theft.

 Sadly the court rejected the extradition requests for most of them. One of the reasons is the poor human rights record of India. But records show that the UK courts have extradited aliens to the US where execution is practised. So far the UK government has sent only one criminal back to India to face the Indian justice. Why the UK is shying away from its treaty obligations? Are there people lobbying the parliamentarians not to make stringent laws such as denying any bail to those tycoon fugitives? Does the lavish lifestyle and their bringing stolen wealth help the UK economy?

 Julian Assange, a fugitive from Sweden fled the country after committing sexual crimes. He landed in London in 2010 and moved into Ecuadorian embassy because of extradition procedure initiated by the US. This lasted for many years, and during that time he had an affair with one of the staff in Ecuador Embassy who gave birth to his child.

 BBC Panorama dated 21st September 2020, referred to the money laundering helped by HSBC and Barclays banks. The perpetrators holding suspicious bank accounts live in the UK and the government machinery is fully aware of this. Panorama programme reported that the current and two previous prime ministers were paid to play tennis with Russian origin British citizen, alleged to have received millions of pound from a friend of Russian president Putin. It is a known fact the laundered money is used mainly for drug trafficking, weapons, modern slavery, racketeering,kidnapping, extortion, and organised crimes. Once the money is paid, the donor expects some implied service, and if it is not done, retribution will be the result. A lot of Russian oligarchs living in the UK involve in unconventional methods of making money detrimental to Russian economy. Some of these oligarchs are criminal fugitives from Russia. The delay in extradition is one of the reasons for the Russian style retaliation as we witnessed at Salisbury.There is hardly a day without financial scams such as skimming and Authorised Push Payment (APP) scam of cheating vulnerable citizens in the UK. These are generally committed by foreign fraudsters living in the UK or abroad. The Labour government brought ‘Fraud Act 2006’, to deal with fraud and embezzlement. In 2009 the government set up National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) which essentially analyses the fraud for statistics purposes and it rarely investigates!. The Action Fraud (AF) and NFIB so far charged only 4% of the reported fraud cases and as such it is only a lot of eyewash. Wikipedia points out that these reported cases are being passed round a long list of agencies including the City of London Police and a series of local police forces. If one reports a fraud case, Action Fraud automatically acknowledges and then NFIB will send a impersonal circular letter. So much so about the current Tory government’s promise on tackling crime! Generally these fraudsters are from other countries, and are encouraged by  police inaction. Government of all colours do not take a stringent action against fraudsters . National Crime Agency (NCA) has estimated that £90bn of criminal money is being laundered through the UK every year, being 4% of the country’s GDP.

 Giving shelter to foreign fraudsters in London is a serious matter, as their country of origin loses the fund for the well being of their citizens. This also tarnishes the British image on respecting the law of other countries. Most of these countries are poor, and people struggle to exist. Ministers like Dikko take bribe from contractors and these contractors deliver a poor quality products or services. In the UK also, this unaccounted money is used for all sorts of nasty and illegal activities such as drugs and weapons. Lobbyists help these crooks through influencing our parliamentarians, who are reluctant to legislate to imprison these shady foreign fugitives the very moment they step foot in the UK. If the crooks are in prison, they will try not to delay court proceedings, and play the system at the expense of taxpayers. After all, allowing them to indulge in lavish lifestyle in London will not be a deterrent to alien criminals. I hope the government will legislate stringent measures and keep a ceiling on litigation period for these crooks. 

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