Author Roberto Saviano.
Author Roberto Saviano. Antonio Calanniap

Crime writer claims London’s the head of drugs world

BRITAIN'S financial hub, the City of London, is the money-laundering centre of the world's drug trade, according to an internationally acclaimed crime expert.

Roberto Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organisation Camorra, said of the international drugs trade, "Mexico is its heart and London is its head".

He said the cheapness and the ease of laundering dirty money through UK-based banks gave London a key role in drugs trade.

"The British treat it as not their problem because there aren't corpses on the street," he said.

UK banks and financial services had ignored

so-called "know-your-customer" rules designed to curb criminals' abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Mr Saviano said.

His warning follows a National Crime Agency threat assessment which stated: "We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year."

Mr Saviano said British bank HSBC received a record $2.5 billion fine for money laundering for the Mexican Sinaloa drugs cartel in 2012.

"The biggest UK bank. Yet it has scarcely been written about," he said.

"The intellectuals have said nothing. (Prime Minister David) Cameron has said nothing.

How" can he say nothing on such a piece of news?"