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Johnson supports the Economic Crime Bill - crackdown on Russian dirty money and NCA Kleptocrat Unit

As the Government prepares to table its Economic Crime Bill this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that there's "no place for dirty money in the UK."

It comes after the UK announced a slew of sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"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," Mr Johnson said.

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

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement Bill), which will require the implementation of a beneficial ownership registry, is expected to be tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

According to Sky News, the law will apply retroactively to property purchased by foreign-based owners in England and Wales for the past 20 years, and since December 2014 in Scotland.

Failure to comply could result in the property's sale being restricted, as well as a five-year prison sentence.

"Transparency is key to understanding who should be sanctioned. It’s our ambition to do this early next week but there’s a lot of work still to be done," a government source told Sky News.

The measure aims to combat the estimated £100 billion in dirty money that passes through the UK each year. The Bill was controversially put on hold a few weeks ago, causing outrage among opposition members of parliament.

However, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Bill was reignited, with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss revealing that the government had compiled a "hit list" of oligarchs.

"Every few weeks," she promised, new sanctions would be imposed on these oligarchs, adding that "there will be a rolling programme of sanctions… we are targeting oligarchs’ private jets, we will be targeting their properties and other possessions they have. There will be nowhere to hide."

The Bill is also expected to include provisions to strengthen the system of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs), as well as a cap on the cost of failed UK FinCrime actions.

The Economic Crime Bill will include the following provisions:

  • The creation of a "Register of Overseas Entities" for property ownership in the United Kingdom.

  • OFSI (Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation) will have more authority to levy "significant" fines.

  • Companies House reforms

  • Unexplained Wealth Orders Have Been Improved

  • Sanctions evasion will be the focus of a new NCA 'Kleptocracy cell.'



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