Now there are washing machines for reputations

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Jul 27, 2017
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Grim reading for the UK’s legal fraternity on Quartz, an American website published from the famous Watergate building in Washington and produced by the owners of the renowned Atlantic magazine.

In a long analysis of the murky world of Russian business manoeuvres in Europe and the US, the magazine alleges that hitherto respected British businesses and law firms are being used in a process of providing cover for illicit activity.

The article quotes Robert Barrington, the executive director of the anti-corruption campaigning organisation, Transparency International, who pulls no punches. “It’s become widely acknowledged in recent years that the UK is one of the global centres of money laundering,” Barrington tells the site. But then he continues: “The dirty secret which has not yet been fully revealed is how frequently wealthy exiles engage British-based PR agencies, law firms, and others for the purpose of reputation laundering.”

With US investigators and journalists devoting ever more resources to analysing the Trump administration’s alleged connections to the Putin regime in Moscow, we are likely to hear more about the potentially grubby business of cleansing reputations.

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