UK To Crack the Whip on 'Dirty Money' To Tame Corrupt Elites 12

UK To Crack the Whip on ‘Dirty Money’ To Tame Corrupt Elites

Quick take:

  • The UK government will introduce a bill to crack down on dirty money in the country
  • Once passed, foreign owners of property in the UK will have to reveal their real identities
  • The bill is part of PM Johnson’s sanctions against Russia and its elite
  • The UK government could soon have powers to seize crypto assets associated with money laundering and ransomware

The UK government is set to introduce new legislation to clamp down on ‘dirty money’ in the country. The new legislation will be introduced in parliament tomorrow, March 1st.

The ‘Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill’, will target corrupt elites who use properties in the UK as a means of laundering money.

Of particular interest, will be properties in England and Wales, bought by overseas entities or owners, in the last 20 years. It will also include properties in Scotland purchased from December 2014.

Once passed into law, the new bill will provide the National Crime Agency with the authority to investigate the true owners of UK properties owned through trust and shell companies. The agency will do so by serving these entities an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO).

Failure to respond to the UWO will result in restrictions when selling the property, and up to five years in prison. The UWOs will also be expanded to give law enforcement more time to review information and materials provided as a response to the order.

The move is part of PM Johnson’s blueprint of sanctions towards Russia and its corrupt elites in light of the country invading Ukraine last week. Prime Minister Johnson said:

There is no place for dirty money in the UK. We are going faster and harder to tear back the façade that those supporting Putin’s campaign of destruction have been hiding behind for so long.

Those backing Putin have been put on notice: there will be nowhere to hide your ill-gotten gains.

Additionally, the UK government is laying out plans to reform ‘the Companies House’ through another Economic Crime Bill to tame questionable financial transactions and improve corporate transparency. It will include new powers to seize crypto assets along the lines of civil forfeiture to tackle ransomware attacks and money laundering.

[Feature image courtesy of Lucas Davies on Unsplash.]