Criminal syndicate with links to terrorism infiltrated Bank of England
The scandal was uncovered by BuzzFeed News on Thursday, following an investigation into how the UK's criminal underworld penetrated ithe state's central bank.
Operation Beregon, run by MI5 and Scotland Yard, reportedly uncovered a suspected criminal plot so serious that police believed it could “destabilize” Britain’s economy.
Details of the covert operation were unveiled by BuzzFeed News, after it secured access to secret police documents and conducted interviews with a number of key sources.
Detectives realized the BoE had been infiltrated by the criminal syndicate in 1998 after police tapped the smartphone of a crooked businessman known as The Suit.
The businessman in question had been suspected of laundering money for a slew of criminal gangs. After intercepting his mobile phone, Police reported hearing him receive sensitive information from inside the Bank.
The explosive scandal, which marked a massive breach of national security, was covered up MI5 spooks and senior police officers for more than 16 years. This veil of secrecy protected those implicated in the scandal from public, political and legal scrutiny.
Police warned top bankers at the time that sensitive information had been leaked to a wealthy businessman with links to the criminal underworld. But the mole was never identified, no one was held accountable inside the BoE, and The Suit remains a free man.
BuzzFeed News alleges the wife of a Bank of England official may have been implicated in the leak. She was reportedly engaged in an affair with The Suit.
Detectives who had tapped his phone listened in on a number of his conversations with the woman, and concluded he was exploiting her to glean information that would enable him to gamble on the financial markets.
BuzzFeed’s investigation revealed the businessman was given ultra-sensitive information about the BoE’s monetary policy committee (MPC), which sets the Bank’s base interest rate.
However, there is no evidence a member of the Committee leaked this information.
BuzzFeed says the affair and the secret financial data allegedly gleaned from it were uncovered in 1998, after detectives had begun to tap The Suit’s phone. The investigation is believed to have been later taken over by MI5 because of the threat the leaks posed to national security and Britain’s economy at large.
The BoE told BuzzFeed News no mole was ever identified or held accountable.
“The Bank of England was approached regarding a potential issue by the police at the time. The Bank followed it up and nothing was found to substantiate the claims of a leak,” he said.
The businessman at the center of BuzzFeed’s investigation flatly denies laundering money or acting as a conduit for organized crime chiefs. In an official statement, his lawyers told the website he did not receive any information from the BoE.
A secret intelligence report, seen by BuzzFeed News, is said to reveal that the targets of Operation Beregon were The Suit and two criminals who hailed from East London. Each of these men was suspected of being powerful organized crime chiefs who had links to terror groups worldwide.
“These men are not only involved with numerous criminal gangs within the United Kingdom, but also four separate terrorist groups across the world and criminal organizations including the mafia and the most powerful Dutch criminal organizations,” the report said.
Each of the suspected crime chiefs allegedly had a group of lovers across London, of which the wife of the Bank of England mole was one.
A source with knowledge of Operation Beregon said criminal infiltration of Britain’s financial landscape has been a concern for quite some time.
“Organized crime’s infiltration of the City of London and financial services industry has long been a concern,” he said.
“Intelligence such as this was a real risk to the economic well-being of the UK and shouldn’t have been suppressed.”