UK Steps Up Clampdown on Suspicious Foreign Wealth

The authorities of the United Kingdom are going to expand the warrants of arrest of wealth of unknown origin as London seeks to freeze suspicious assets.

In an attempt to cope with the ever growing inflow of dirty money, which only in London is estimated at £ 90 billion a year, the National British Crime Agency is stepping up efforts aimed at bringing Russians and citizens of other states with suspicious incomes to justice, Donald Toon, the director of the economic crime unit of the NCA told the Financial Times on Thursday.

London, he said, wants to expand the warrant for the arrest of wealth of unknown origin. Now, the instrument approved by the British court, the publication reminds, allows investigators to confiscate property of unclear origin, if its owner cannot explain how legally he acquired it. In addition, the agency wants to freeze suspicious assets in the UK, Toon said.

He confirmed that possible targets of the clampdown will be Russian oligarchs, noting that the British authorities are also studying expensive Russian assets in the UK and are trying to find out whether they have grounds for appealing to the courts and obtaining a warrant for the arrest of capital.

Along with this, the National Crime Agency, which is a British equivalent of the US FBI, verifies the sources of wealth “from all over the world” – for example, from the former Soviet Union republics, as well as from Africa and Asia.

Such a step of the British department, as the Financial Times notes, is an attempt by the government to rid London of the reputation of a magnet for dirty money.

This definition was given to the British capital after a report on Russian corruption in the UK published on the website of the British Parliament in late May. In it, the members of the Committee on International Affairs of the House of Commons stated that it is unforgivable to turn a blind eye to kleptocrats from Putin’s entourage, as well as to human rights violators who launder money through Britain for the purpose of bribery of its allies.

In order to cope with the inflow of “dirty money”, the deputies invited the British authorities and G7 member nations to take a tougher stance towards Moscow and begin to eliminate loopholes in the sanctions regime that Russian companies use.

The Kremlin shrugged off the document prepared by the House of Commons Committee as a manifestation of “Russophobic mania.”




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