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One of the high, single-paned front windows at 78 Montgomery Street is broken.A magazine has been taped across the crack, obscuring the view of a small, overgrown garden where an old disused telephone box lies on its side.

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This is Edinburgh, one of the Scottish capital’s oh-so-respectable neighbourhoods of stout Victorian tenements.

The address, smashed glass aside, could not seem more legitimate. That is because number 78, on paper at least, is one of Europe’s great money-laundering hubs, a centre of elaborate multi-billion-dollar schemes to clean some of the continent’s dirtiest money.

READ MORE: Edinburgh and the oligarchs The property’s owner, John Hein, finds this characterisation of his home to be “preposterous”.

But after years of almost constant police visits over one investigation or another, Mr Hein now acknowledges he lives at one of Britain’s most crooked addresses.

But they have been used, on an industrial scale, to move money out of the old Soviet Union.

SLPs, once obscure structures used by Scottish farmers to share with friends, are dubbed “Britain’s home-grown secrecy vehicle” by anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International. Because their real owners to remain anonymous, pay no taxes and file no accounts.

Mr Hein had no idea, he says, what the businesses were being used for.

A company formation agent, he had been asked by an English-based colleague to host Scottish entities.

Instead there are, officially at least, thousands of anonymous shell companies, mostly Scottish limited partnerships or SLPs.

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