Top private schools ‘unwittingly take laundered money from criminals’

The Independent is reporting that Britain’s top private schools are coming under scrutiny from anti-corruption groups for unwittingly accepting laundered money from wealthy foreign criminals and corrupt officials…

The British private school Millfield is alleged by police in Moldova to have received payments arising from the $22bn (£14bn) international money-laundering operation revealed in an investigation by The Independent and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

The allegation comes as it emerged that Britain’s top public schools are attracting the attention of NGOs including Transparency International and Global Witness for receiving school fees from foreign criminal or corrupt elements keen to get their children or relatives an English education.

Police in Moldova who are leading the investigation into what is thought to be one of Europe’s biggest money-laundering schemes said Millfield was one of more than a dozen legitimate UK businesses which received payments from companies connected to the alleged laundering operation.

These are said to have ranged from a chemical company to a maker of covert surveillance equipment. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by any of the companies concerned or the school…

Transparency International, the anti money-laundering organisation, is investigating whether more should be done by British schools and universities to carry out checks on the provenance of their fees, especially from countries with a reputation for corruption.

Its executive director Robert Barrington said: “Independent schools’ income from foreign students has greatly increased in the last decade. Most are legitimate, but we suspect a lot is not. And whose job is it to check?

…Private schools and universities “should accept there is a problem, sit down around the table with experts and address it. Most independent schools have charitable status. Surely if it is a sector that is in any way compliant with money laundering they put their charitable status under threat.”…

More at: Top private schools ‘unwittingly take laundered money from criminals’


Interesting potential issue for private schools and universities – how much do you think they should be required to do to check whether money received is legitimate or not? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

Third of FE colleges offering degrees fail inspection
Teachers voice fears over adult asylum seekers given place in schools
Categories: Private Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Could this be the golden ticket excuse for those who want to (mistakenly in my view) rid the world of private education?

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Not sure what people expect private schools to do; check every note’s serial number to ensure it’s not linked to a crime

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Are we sure that some govt money sent to maintained schools isn’t the result of criminal activity? Could argue it was!

  4. Jakdaw09

    Re schools / money laundering As TransparencyUK say, banks must do their due diligence but independent schools should too SchoolsImprove

Let us know what you think...