Russian crime syndicates are able to ‘trash the UK’s public purse’ with Covid loans, MP says

Officials allowed Covid loans to turn into ‘fraud boon’ with Russian crime syndicates able to ‘trail away British public purse’, MP says

  • Top officials were slammed last night for allowing a Covid ‘fraud’ ‘boon’
  • They have heard that Russian crime syndicates have ‘ransacked the British public purse’
  • Labor MP Angela Eagle cited a case where two men got £10million in 200 loans

Senior officials came under fire in parliament last night for authorizing a ‘cheating boon’ which led to criminals trying to flee the country with suitcases full of money from Covid loans.

Mandarins have learned that even Russian crime syndicates have been able to ‘loot Britain’s public purse’ for millions of pounds after the Treasury eased controls on applicants for the £47bn repayment loan scheme pound sterling.

But senior officials defended the move, insisting the money needed to flow urgently to businesses to prevent them from going bankrupt when the pandemic hit.

It comes after it emerged that some of the estimated £4billion lost to fraud through the loans – which were bank-funded but government guaranteed – were seized at airports by Border Force officials as criminals attempted to smuggle them out of the country.

Dozens of business owners have been disqualified after taking out the maximum £50,000 in loans to support their businesses before wasting money on gambling, home renovations and luxury cars, it has been revealed the Times.

Alarmed: At a select committee hearing yesterday, Labor MP Angela Eagle (pictured) told senior Treasury and British Business Bank officials: ‘It’s just a boon of fraud isn’t it not?”

Among the fraudulent claimants were a restaurant owner who was granted a loan despite being evicted from his premises for failing to pay rent, and a soft drink mogul who increased his company’s turnover by 100 times. to get £50,000.

In another case, the owner of a sandwich shop used a £35,000 loan to landscape his garden.

At a select committee hearing yesterday, Labor MP Angela Eagle told senior Treasury and British Business Bank officials: ‘It’s just a boon of fraud, isn’t it?’ Adding: “You’ve had 49 arrests. That doesn’t even touch the first iota of what’s happening, considering the schemes you put in place were so open to abuse for at least a month.

She cited the case of a Russian man and a Lithuanian man, both since jailed for money laundering, who were able to secure £10m in 200 Covid loans – despite being on bail for fraud when they made the requests.

“It would be deeply alarming if Russian organized crime and illicit finance exploited our bounce loan system and could access this amount of public money due to the lack of government controls in the Covid support program. So are there ways to check whether other Russian crime syndicates have been looting British public funds? ” she says.

Permanent Secretary to the Treasury Sir Tom Scholar said he was unaware of this particular case, adding: ‘There were particular features of the scheme which were a direct consequence of the circumstances at the time, this which meant that some of the normal controls did not apply.

“As a result, as everyone knew at the time, there was a greater risk of fraud, and we are taking all possible steps to address this.”


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