Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Saturday it had arrested a "wealthy Russian businessman" on suspicion of money laundering as the UK attempts to disrupt potential criminal activity by oligarchs linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The unidentified 58-year-old was one of three men detained on Thursday.
The Russian businessman was arrested at a "multi-million-pound residence" in London, according to the NCA.
What do we know so far?
As well as suspicion of money laundering, he was also arrested on conspiracy of defrauding the UK's Interior Ministry and conspiracy to commit perjury, the NCA said.
A 35-year-old man was also arrested at the residence after he was seen leaving with a bag stashed with thousands of pounds in cash. A 39-year-old former boyfriend of the businessman's partner was also arrested at the property in the Pimlico area of West London, authorities reported. All three have since been released on bail.
The NCA said more than 50 police officers were involved in the raid, seizing digital devices and a "significant" amount of cash.
"The NCA's Combating Kleptocracy Cell, only established this year, is having significant success investigating potential criminal activity by oligarchs, the professional service providers that support and enable them and those linked to the Russian regime," NCA Director General Graeme Biggar said in a statement.
"We will continue to use all the powers and tactics available to us to disrupt this threat."
Efforts to hinder Putin
In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, about 100 operations have been carried out by the NCA as part of efforts to stymie elites linked to Putin, the agency said.
"The cell has also investigated and taken discreet action against a significant number of elites who impact directly on the UK, as well as targeting less conventional routes used to disguise movements of significant wealth, such as high-value asset sales via auction houses," the agency added.
In October, the NCA arrested another London-based businessman on suspicion of aiding a sanctioned Russian oligarch.
The NCA said that it has worked with law enforcement agencies around the world to "target illicit wealth held abroad." The operation has enabled the NCA to freeze assets, including several properties, eight yachts and four aircraft.
jsi/ar (Reuters, AP)