Oligarchs suspected of corruption to be forced to explain source of wealth




Actors David Strathairn and Juliet Rylance, creator/writer Hossein Amini, and director James Watkins of 'McMafia' speak onstage during the AMC Networks portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 13, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by )
Actors David Strathairn
and Juliet Rylance, creator/writer Hossein Amini, and director
James Watkins of ‘McMafia’ speak onstage during the AMC Networks
portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press
Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 13,
2018.


Frederick M.
Brown/Getty Images




  • Security minister Ben Wallace said the “full force of
    government” will be felt by foreign criminals using Britain as
    a haven.
  • New unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) let the UK seize
    suspicious assets and hold until they have been properly
    accounted for.

Russian oligarchs suspected of corruption will be forced to
account for their luxury lifestyles in the UK in a new crackdown
on organised crime, a Government minister has said.

Security minister Ben Wallace said the “full force of government”
would be brought to bear on foreign criminals and corrupt
politicians who use Britain as a haven.

Officials will use new unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) – which
came into effect this week – to seize suspicious assets and hold
them until they have been properly accounted for.

In an interview with The Times, Mr Wallace said: “When we get to
you, we will come for you, for your assets and we will make the
environment that you live in difficult.”

The move comes as London‘s role as a playground for Russian
gangsters and the super-rich has been highlighted by the BBC
drama series McMafia.

Mr Wallace said ministers wanted to exploit the success of the
programme – based on the factual book of the same name by the
journalist Misha Glenny – to raise public awareness of the issue
of corruption.

“McMafia is one of those things where you realise that fact is
ahead of fiction,” he told the paper.

“It’s a really good portrayal of sharp-suited wealthy
individuals, but follow the money and it ends up with a young
girl getting trafficked for sex.

“Beneath the gloss there is real nastiness. So far it’s very
close to the truth, the international nature of organised crime
and the impunity with which some of these people operate and the
brutality of it, is absolutely correct.”

Mr Wallace pointed to the so-called Laundromat case in which
ghost companies – many based in the UK – were used to launder
dirty Russian money through western banks as an example of
Russian involvement in organised crime.

“What we know from the Laundromat expose is that certainly there
have been links to the (Russian) state. The Government’s view is
that we know what they are up to and we are not going to let it
happen anymore,” he said.

Officials estimate that around £90 billion of illegal funds is
laundered through the UK every year.

The establishment of UWOs, as part of the Criminal Finance Act,
will enable the authorities to freeze and recover property if
individuals are unable to explain how they acquired assets in
excess of £50,000.

Read the original article on The Independent. Copyright 2018. Follow The Independent on Twitter.

Source