Deutsche Welle: 'Laundromat' funnels illicit funds out of Russia

Banks in Moldova and Latvia help Russians take billions of dollars out of their country bypassing strict money laundering rules. The massive operation has been dubbed 'The Laundromat' by anti-corruption activists.

New details have emerged on how at least $20.8 billion (19.2 billion euros) was illegally moved out of Russia between 2010 and 2014. Though the story originally broke in 2014, a new trove of bank records has shed more light on the money laundering scheme, which anti-corruption activists have called "The Laundromat."

The documents recently obtained by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) show that the scam involved over 500 people, including Russian oligarchs and criminals with links to the government and the domestic intelligence agency.

Maggie Murphy from Transparency International says that the global financial system is simply not dealing with the dirty money flowing through it. "The financial system is absolutely shrouded in secrecy, and secrecy and corruption just go hand-in-hand."

"At the heart of this system are these anonymous shell companies. They can be set up quite easily. They don't have staff, they don't have buildings… and they hide the identity of the real person controlling the funds," she told DW in an interview.

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