Tom Keatinge, a Financial Crime and Security Specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, has slammed the UK for pursuing a policy of "benign neglect when it comes to Russian money."
Mr Keatinge stressed in an interview with Channel 4 News that the UK could not ignore the war in Ukraine, resulting in the UK "having to act."
"The Foreign Secretary has made a very great thing about the number of oligarchs that the UK is sanctioning," he continued.
He stated that he expects the UK to be tough on Russia, but that the US serves as a "escape valve," adding that "we see some differences in the approaches being taken by different countries."
He did say, however, that there were "clearly very good reasons" for it.
"What is happening here is the freezing of assets, we’re not seizing them and we’re not rolling up illicit finance which is in the UK," he said, adding that sanctions already imposed on oligarchs are not hurting Putin.
"It doesn’t seem to [him] that this is going to change Vladimir Putin’s calculus," he says, despite the sanctions.
He did warn, however, that once the current crisis has "abated," the UK government would have to deal with this issue.
When asked about sanctioned oligarchs' luxury real estate and yachts, Mr. Keatinge cautioned, "We have to be very careful to make sure that we differentiate between a criminal process and simply freezing them,” as we “can’t expropriate them."
He acknowledged that what happens after the war will be "extremely complicated," and he believes we have not "thought that through."
By fLEXI tEAM