Many Western countries have laws that forbid money laundering which apply to citizens of all countries rather than just their own nationals. Countries like UK have been recently cracking down on illicit Russian money coming into the country, for example.

But why would a country care if a citizen of a non-allied country parks their money there? For the UK oligarch money seems like a win-win as it both helps their economy and weakens an unfriendly regime. Same goes for any other hostile dictatorships that lose money when their citizens funnel it to Europe.

I'm interested in a Realpolitik answer rather than one based on morals.

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    Your question presumes a western democracy. For the latter, it states the message that "we welcome corrupt money." - which is not necessarily one electors want to hear. For places like Panama or various Caribbean islands, they'll welcome anything. – Denis de Bernardy Jun 19 '18 at 18:43
  • @DenisdeBernardy you are half way to an answer, link to a conference on banking regulation or the G8-- and I would call it good enough. – user9389 Jun 19 '18 at 18:54
  • @notstoreboughtdirt: As much as I agree, the OP asked a troll/biased question (dare I add as usual?) explicitly begging for a Realpolitik answer rather than one based on morals. Whereas an answer like mine is, as explicitly not requested, based on morals... Hence the comment. – Denis de Bernardy Jun 19 '18 at 19:02
  • @DenisdeBernardy most of Western politics are in fact based on Realpolitik hidden under the pretense of morals. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Jun 19 '18 at 19:43
  • @DenisdeBernardy as for "as usual" - I often ask questions where I have a vague answer in my head and want to receive a better one from the sages of Politics.SE :) – JonathanReez Supports Monica Jun 19 '18 at 19:44

If someone is engaged in a criminal enterprise and has their money in your country, they are likely to invest money in criminal enterprises in your country. Or by allowing the criminals to operate in your country, you allow them to make connections with local criminals. E.g. they might sell arms to drug dealers. It's the Peter Parker principle. If you ignore crime when it doesn't directly affect you, you may find that it starts affecting you.

It might even be simpler than that. Perhaps the money always was the result of crimes locally. So even though it's Russian nationals, the criminal activity that it supported may be local to you.

They also may want to avoid strengthening an unfriendly regime. Many of the Russian oligarchs operate openly and legally in Russia. If you allow them to engage in criminal activity in your country, it weakens your country and strengthens Russia.

Some sanctions deliberately target Russian oligarchs so as to increase the pressure on Vladimir Putin. The idea being that he may be able to ignore problems with everyday people, but the oligarchs have his ear directly.

Money laundering may allow the evasion of sanctions. Start with Russian money. Convert to drugs or weapons. Sell in the United Kingdom (or whatever country). Now you have British Pounds and may buy anything that British Pounds can. Ship that to Russia on the boats that brought drugs or weapons into the country. Again, this weakens your country while strengthening Russia (or whatever country).

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