UK guarantees to crack down on property of corrupt oligarchs – The Times

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will use new powers to grab the property of overseas criminals and corrupt politicians, The Times newspaper reported on Saturday quoting the safety minister.

Investors from Russia, China and the Middle East have poured billions into London, shopping for every little thing from luxurious properties to complete corporations, however the provenance of a few of these funds has been questioned by transparency campaigners.

It is unclear how a lot cash is laundered by way of Britain, however the National Crime Agency has mentioned calculations of between 36 billion kilos ($50.83 billion) and 90 billion kilos ($127.08 billion) are “a significant underestimate”.

Security minister Ben Wallace advised The Times that the government would use powers relating to unexplained wealth to freeze and get better property if people can’t clarify how they acquired property over 50,000 kilos ($70,000).

“When we get to you we will come for you, for your assets and we will make the environment that you live in difficult,” Wallace mentioned.

Last 12 months, British media reported on a “Laundromat” inquiry into an alleged Russian-led cash laundering scheme, during which $22.three billion handed by way of Moldova utilizing Russian shell corporations and fictitious loans from offshore corporations based mostly in Britain in 2011-2014.

Wallace mentioned the government was decided to cease such behaviour.

“What we know from the Laundromat exposé is that certainly there have been links to the [Russian] state,” he was quoted as saying. “The government’s view is that we know what they are up to and we are not going to let it happen any more.”

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Stephen Powell

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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