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Podcast: Russia's Money Laundromat

London's dusty Victorian bricks have become the reserve currency of Russian money launderers.
London's dusty Victorian bricks have become the reserve currency of Russian money launderers.

It began with a television documentary. A sting operation in which two journalists posed as Boris and Nastya -- a Russian official and his mistress, seeking to buy luxury homes in London with money pilfered from the state budget.

Boris explains the situation to five separate real estate agents, stressing that the sale must be kept secret and off the books. And in each case, the real estate agent agrees to go ahead with the sale, in violation of the United Kingdom's disclosure laws.

From Russia With Cash debuted on July 8 on Britain's Channel 4, and in the weeks since, it has sparked an online campaign to shame British MPs into reforming the country's property laws.

It has also opened a much-needed discussion about how Western countries are complicit in Russian corruption -- and are aiding and abetting Vladimir Putin's authoritarian and increasingly aggressive regime.

On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, I spoke with one of the masterminds of the From Russia With Cash project, journalist and Kremlin-watcher Ben Judah, author of the book Fragile Empire: How Russians Fell in and Out of Love With Vladimir Putin; and with journalist Oliver Bullough, author of the book, The Last Man In Russia and the Struggle to Save a Dying Nation.


Podcast: Russia's Money Laundromat
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About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or


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