Britain is the “country of choice for every kleptocrat, crook and despot in the world”, a Labour MP has said following revelations by the Guardian and media partners of a massive money-laundering scheme run by the government of Azerbaijan.
Margaret Hodge said the UK thought itself to be a “country of integrity, respectability and trustworthiness”. However, recent money-laundering scandals featuring Azerbaijan, Russia and the offshore industry showed this self-belief to be “flawed”, she told parliament.
Hodge – a former chair of the public accounts committee and an outspoken critic of corporate tax avoidance – was speaking in an adjournment debate on Thursday. She told MPs that UK corporate structures were being used for a wide range of crimes, including tax evasion and bribery.