The BBC has reported that the UK is fast-tracking The Economic Crime Bill to target money-laundering by foreign oligarchs.
The Bill will include a new register that will mean foreign owners of UK property must declare and verify their identities with Companies House with the aim to stop overseas criminals and oligarchs from using agents to create companies or buy property for them in the UK.
Entities that refuse to declare their owners will face restrictions in selling property and those who break the rule could be imprisoned for up to five years.
This follows claims that the government has received threatening letters from City law firms acting for clients facing sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said that law firms were holding up efforts to implement asset freezes and travel bans.
A joint statement from leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, UK, Canada and the US promised a clampdown on ‘enablers’ to Russian elites and officials. The term ‘enablers’ is understood to include law firms.
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