Just read an article referring to a book called Gomorrah, written by one Roberto Saviano. In the article, Roberto claims that London is now the global money-laundering center for the world's drug trade. Hmm.
Close, Roberto, but not quite. London is, in fact, the global money-laundering center for just about all world-wide nefarious activity, from drugs, through terror, to arms deals.
Not only that, but, because of its tolerance of para-political refugees, its lax finance controls, and ease of access to Europe, London is the place to initiate or negotiate all manner of covert military activity, from your occasional coup d'etat, to full-blown servicing of the US War on Terror.
This didn't begin in the Eighties, but it advanced by leaps and bounds in that decade. As the US determined seriously to end the Soviet Empire, with whatever it took, covert and overt. And all manner of collateral naughties got underway. From Iran-Contra, to supporting the mujahideen in Afghanistan, to the US delegating much of its sensitive and bloody covert operations to the Brits, in order to avoid Congressional oversight.
The whole underground network took a breather in the Nineties. But re-awoke with a fury in the Noughts, when Bush declared his War on Terror, and determined that, for the most part, it would be fought under the radar, and by private security firms, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. Making what occurred in the Eighties look like amateur day at the Mother's Union.
It was and is on the back of that WoT global network that all manner of other criminal activity has piggy-backed. And the legitimate authorities turn a blind eye, Roberto, for two reasons:
First, the legitimate authorities are encouraging mainstream banks to shield the money-laundering associated with the WoT. You can't expose the associated criminality without revealing the WoT activity. Besides, the way this works, the way it has always worked with covert operations, the one is very often undertaken by the other. You hire deniable criminals for covert ops. Which, in order to avoid scrutiny, are often financed by criminal activity.
Secondly, whether or not the banks concerned are legally making donations to political parties, the primary reason politicians are not making a fuss about money-laundering is that investigation would also uncover the huge traffic in illicit political kickbacks to individual politicians.
And. If you want to know more, join the queue to buy a copy of The Book at the end of August. To be fair to Roberto, he has part of the jigsaw puzzle. Maggie's Hammer deals with the rest ...