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Britain rushes through economic crime reform after Ukraine invasion




UK lawmakers have fast-tracked a law addressing "dirty money" in response to the Ukraine invasion by targeting Russian oligarchs.


While the Houses of Parliament sat beyond midnight to make sure the measures were signed into law, the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act received royal assent.


As a response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the UK government is now expected to announce additional sanctions.


Under the legislation, foreign property owners in the UK would be required to declare their true identity to establish a new register of overseas entities.


If details are not declared, or are presented falsely, the asset will be frozen and it cannot be sold or rented. The register would have to be updated every year.


In the Lords, ministers made several concessions that helped the Act pass through Parliament, including a commitment by the Government to scrap exemptions from a foreign ownership of property register that would have helped combat illicit cash laundering.


However, business minister Lord Callanan argued curbing the transition period risked opening up the register to legal challenge and instead proposed a new disclosure requirement to prevent asset-flight ahead of the new rules being brought in.


Parliament will receive an update on progress within six weeks on the implementation of the measures in the Act by the ministers.


15 March 2022

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