“Scottish Limited Partnerships are used by thousands of legitimate British businesses – from pension schemes to owning farm land in Scotland – to invest more than £30 billion in the UK a year.
We have seen mounting evidence that in their current form they are vulnerable to abuse. Last year it emerged more than 100 Scottish Limited Partnerships were used to launder up to $80bn in the “global laundromat”, a complex and corrupt money laundering scheme that allowed officials to move money out of Russia and around the world.
The Herald itself has continued to shine a spotlight on this issue, reporting their use in alleged complex global money laundering schemes from Brazilian politicians to Russian oligarchs, and in the process shown the value of investigatory reporting.”
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths, putting the word “alleged” through its paces.
Herald, 30th April 2018
“I want you to be really ******* rough with ***. The video of you spanking her was nowhere near hard enough. Can she take a beating? I have to be slightly careful in my job.”…
Soon-To-Be-Ex-Business-Minister Andrew Griffiths, possibly typing one-handed.
Liverpool Echo, 15th Jul 2018
By Richard Smith
The UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (henceforward, BEIS) kicked off its investigation of Limited Partnerships abuse via a call for evidence published on 16th January 2017. The BEIS reform package was finally announced on 10th December 2018, though that’s just bullet points, and in fact, simply a rehash of what alleged Flagellation Voyeur Andrew Griffiths had already announced in April.
A little more detail is available in the full response here, but it would be fair to describe it as ‘disappointing’. For instance, here’s how alleged Chief Spankwatcher Andrew Griffiths’ “mounting evidence that in their current form [SLPs] are vulnerable to abuse” is depicted, in BEIS’s detail. I have put the key part of the summary in bold.
Government Response: Review of Limited Partnership Law
Responses to the consultation
Question 1: Can you provide any additional evidence to help explain the trends in registrations of limited partnerships (LPs) across the UK in recent years?
The purpose of this question was to obtain more detail on the history, uses and misuse of LPs, further to that received in response to the call for evidence. The question garnered 29 responses; the vast majority of which said that they could not offer evidence which definitively links LPs, in particular in their Scottish form, to criminal activity. They also suggested that the recent reduction in registrations of Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs) was linked to the introduction of the Persons of Significant Control (PSC) register for SLPs in 2017. None of the respondents could provide firm explanations for the recent rise in registrations of LPs in Northern Ireland.
…and that’s all the “evidence”, from a total of two years of information gathering and analysis, that BEIS sees fit to record. This time the words “vast majority” and “definitively” are doing the hard work.
Thus, the entirety of the SLP abuse evidence considered and published by BEIS is to be the words of a “vast majority” of 29 self-selecting survey respondents, who admit to not having any evidence of anything.
This amazingly confident positioning does rather make one wonder whether alleged Lewd Texter Griffiths’ ex-minions are quite as persuaded, as their erstwhile boss, of the value of ‘investigatory reporting’. Other documents that don’t count as evidence in BEISWorld include, apparently:
- Moldovan court judgments in the Moldovan bank fraud case
- Regulator interventions in Latvia against Trasta Comercbanka and Privatbank Latvia
- The FINCEN intervention against ABLV
- Russian court verdicts
- Regulator warnings in America, Canada, France, Belgium, Italy, Israel and Cyprus
- The conclusions of a 10-month investigation by the Council of Europe in which SLPs were a key mechanism (the ‘Azerbaijan Laundromat’)
- United Nations blacklisting of various SLPs for aid fraud
Unless you are familiar with UK-Governmental evidence-gathering processes, you may find BEIS’s evidence-filtering strategy to be surprisingly aggressive. It would certainly have been helpful of BEIS to describe exactly what it meant by ‘evidence’, before soliciting it, and then ignoring the evidence that it did get, but that’s not how BEIS rolls.
Mind you, BEIS’s definition of ‘evidence’ would have been tricky to state explicitly, since it is clearly both quite exacting (ignoring all those foreign agencies), yet, at the same time, extremely liberal (foregrounding the views of twenty-odd unnamed respondents, all of whom say they know absolutely nothing about the question they are answering).
This dogged obliviousness is still more striking when one surveys the last three years of SLP press coverage. All of the above stories, and many more, still developing, are in my linkfest below, which documents the involvement of SLPs in some $100Billion of alleged or court-proven fraud, grand corruption and money laundering.
I’ve put in as many free sources as I could find, but a lot of the heavy lifting has been done by the Scottish Herald, whose journalists’ children depend on a paywall for their daily bread. You do get five free stories, though, so you could pick carefully. Alternatively, a month’s Herald subscription, which would enable you to read everything, is only seven quid.
Clearly, though, that’s not enough smoke, or multiple fires, for a Government department that is very evidently determined not to find anything wrong at all, in which case, it’s probably pointless to add this post-consultation footnote, a further $230Bn “allegation” that has already resulted in preliminary money laundering charges:
|Moneyweek||Danske Bank’s money-laundering scandal “According to Danske’s report into the affair, UK entities such as LLPs and SLPs (Scottish limited partnerships) made up the second biggest proportion of Danske Estonia’s non-resident customers – second only to those based in Russia.”||Largest European money laundering scandal ever, $230Bn of suspicious transactions, FSU state actors. Numbers of SLPs and LLPs involved unknown, but most likely hundreds or even thousands|
|Herald||New laundering warnings on Scottish shell firms|
|Reuters||Danske money laundering whistleblower labels UK structures a ‘disgrace’|
Still – disgrace isn’t so bad. It soon passes, as Alleged Vexatious Creep Andrew Griffiths already knows: as if by a miracle, he returned to the Tory party fold just in time for the recent, potentially fraught, Theresa May confidence vote.
I can’t help suspecting that the SLP story, now with its extra $230Bn of impetus, won’t go away quite as quickly as Mr Griffiths’ dauntingly voluminous textual ejaculations (700 of them, to just two women, according to reports).
Accordingly, with the SLP sequel in mind, my next piece, in the coming few days, will be a quick and by now decidedly jaundiced look at the reform proposals, such as they are.