Scotland: ‘Mind-boggling’ fraud involving $1 billion leads to Edinburgh council flat

Tim Whewall

BBC Radio 4’s File on Four programme has investigated a “mind-bogglingly” complex financial scam which has seen Europe’s poorest country robbed of $1 billion – with the trail leading to an ex-council flat in Edinburgh and fraudsters who have availed themselves of the Scottish Limited Partnership (SLP).

The programme reports that the SLP is now the business vehicle of choice for international shady business people, money launderers and tax dodgers – with thousands of SLPs being established every year by offshore owners.

Moldova was robbed of 12 per cent of its GDP by the financial scam uncovered earlier this year.

It involved a web of companies in the ex-Soviet country, with the money thought to have ended up in Russia via Latvian banks.

But the trail also goes via a number of UK-registered companies, including some located at a flat in Pilton – which has 530 firms registered to its address.

Tim Whewall investigated why this is allowed to happen, why it is so easy to set up an opaque shell company in the UK and the role of so-called company formation agents.

Listen to the programme on the BBC Radio 4 website.

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