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Lawmakers today accused “morally bankrupt” billionaires of using the UK as a “laundromat” for illicit finance despite new sanctions.
In a new report: “The Cost of Complacency: Illegal Finance and the War in Ukraine”, the Foreign Affairs Committee urged the government to deal with the flow of illicit finance through London, with sanctions being imposed against Russia. Take action now.
The committee found that the government’s “suppression” rhetoric did not match constructive action.
The report concludes that the government’s lack of willingness to bring forward legislation that would block the flow of Russian money directly contributed to Britain’s position as a safe haven for corrupt money. It is “shameful that it has waged war to bring the government into action”.
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Sanctions against oligarchs and those who support, or benefit from, the Russian government are not in themselves sufficient, the committee argues. Their report called for consideration of whether prosecutors could be prosecuted and whether criminal cases could be made out. The report found that legislation targeting supporters should be strengthened.
The report concludes that enforcement agencies are toothless without the necessary tools and resources, and urges a substantial increase in funding and specialist resources for the National Crime Agency, the Office of Serious Fraud and other responsible agencies.
The committee calls on the government to publish the long-awaited review of the Tier 1 investor visa scheme. The government should also state what action will be taken against those who were granted visas without due diligence, especially those who now hold permanent residency or British citizenship, and what action will be taken against them which it is considered to be national security. risk.
The report is an interim one, and the committee’s investigation of illegal and burgeoning finances continues.,
Tom Tugendhat MP, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said today: “new Law is only half the battle. Enforcement agencies need money, resources and highly specialized staff to perform their jobs effectively. It is not just our financial law that needs to be rewritten. Tier 1 visas were the golden ticket for wealthy investors who were able to buy access to the UK. The government should do its due diligence to screen all individuals applying for visas, regardless of the size of their bank accounts.
“Stopping illicit finance has wide-ranging effects, undermining trust in our institutions and undermining national security. The UK’s status as a safe haven for dirty money is a blot on our reputation. The government must bring laws in line with the morals of the British people and plug the loopholes that allow such widespread exploitation. ,
a government spokesman said Politics.co.uk In light of the report: “There is no place for dirty money in the UK, not least associated with Russia. We have taken strong action to crack down on illegal finance, including enforcement targeting the corrupt elite.” action and transparency requirements, and earlier this year we set out more than ever our plan to impact anyone who abuses our financial system.
“We are one of the most proactive countries in the implementation of financial sanctions in the world and our experts are on constant alert to deal with the threat.
“In lockstep with our allies, Britain is tightening the ratchet with increasingly strong sanctions against Russia since the first day of Putin’s war. We have maintained the largest and most severe economic sanctions Russia has ever faced, and To enable this, the size of the sanctions team of FCDO has been tripled.”
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