The Elizabeth Tower, also known as Big Ben, and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II are seen on a British five pound sterling banknote, in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. (Photographer: Miles Willis/Bloomberg)

Dirty Money in U.K. Property to Be Investigated by Lawmakers

(Bloomberg) -- British lawmakers opened an investigation into economic crime, citing estimates that more than 4 billion pounds ($5.6 billion) of property in the U.K. has been purchased with “suspicious wealth.”

The probe, announced by the House of Commons Treasury Committee on Thursday, will cover everything from money laundering and terrorist financing to the millions of frauds and scams perpetrated against individuals.

“Given the threats that face the U.K., the effectiveness of the regimes that we use to protect our financial system from misuse have never been more important,” said Nicky Morgan, the Conservative legislator who chairs the cross-party panel.

Reacting to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in southern England this month, anti-corruption campaigner Transparency International estimated that Russians accounted for a fifth of the 4.4 billion pounds of U.K. property acquired with potentially dirty money.

Separately, the Office for National Statistics calculates that there were 3.2 million fraud incidents in the year to September 2017.

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