Cost to the Russian Economy from Drug-Related Corruption and Money Laundering
"Money laundering continues to cost the Russian economy billions of dollars every year. In 2012, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) estimated that $49 billion left Russia illegally. Of this, $35 billion left Russia through what the CBR terms 'fictitious transactions,' which according to the CBR includes payment for narcotics, bribes to government officials, and tax evasion. While there has been significant progress in improving Russia's AML/CFT legal and enforcement framework, the prevalence of money laundering in Russia remains a major obstacle to financial sector development. Domestic sources of laundered funds include organized crime, evasion of tax and customs duties, fraud, smuggling operations, and corruption.
"Official corruption remains a major problem at all levels of government. Despite several recent high profile anti-corruption actions by the Government of Russia, corruption is a major source of laundered funds, with proceeds frequently moved offshore.
"Russia is considered a significant transit and destination country for international narcotics traffickers; criminal elements from Russia and neighboring countries continue to use Russia's financial system and foreign legal entities to launder money. Criminals invest and launder their proceeds in securities instruments, both domestic and foreign real estate, and luxury consumer goods."
United States Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, "International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume II: Drug and Chemical Control (Washington, DC: March 2014), pp. 178-179.