In From Russia With Cash, which airs on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight, two undercover reporters pose as corrupt Russian government officials on the hunt for expensive property in the capital. In one scene, an estate agent has no qualms about accepting money that the reporter explicitly says is diverted from the Russian health budget.
When there are foreign millions on the table and commissions on the line, ethics fly out of the double-glazed, insulated window.
Another estate agent goes so far as to claim that 80% of his transactions are with overseas-based buyers and more than half of them executed in “various stages of anonymity." He's also used to providing international buyers with lawyers who can easily make any legal ramifications go away.
Shocking yes, but if an agent has ever witheld a £1700 deposit because you spilled wine on a carpet in Lewisham, this ruthless hustling should come as no surprise now that millions are changing hands.
Russian anti-corruption campaigner Roman Borisovich and Ukrainian investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska pose as the sketchy foreign officials. They view several houses in west London ranging from £3 to £15 million. At each viewing, every agent is more then happy to accomodate requests of anonymity and accept dirty money. It's little wonder that London is quickly becoming a city belonging to no one but the mega rich - especially when tossers who wear suits on Saturdays have this much sway over its property.
Catch it on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight.