'The British government should impose sweeping sanctions on oligarchs and officials close to Vladimir Putin and apply punitive laws to counter the “full spectrum of the offensive measures” being used by Russia, a report by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has demanded.
“The use of London as a base for the corrupt assets of Kremlin-connected individuals is now clearly linked to a wider Russian strategy and has implications for our national security: combating it should be a major UK foreign policy priority,” claim the MPs.
The report, “Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK”, accuses the British government of failing to follow up condemnation of Kremlin aggression with credible action. “The robust rhetoric from the prime minister following the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter” it says “has been undermined by the ‘business as usual’ sign hanging on the UK’s front door’.”
The committee wants to see tough action from the government including:
- stopping companies which are sanctioned in other countries from trading in London
- closing of “loopholes” which allow debt issuance to be used to go around sanctions
- individuals close to President Putin’s government sanctioned
- a crackdown on money laundering focusing on ownership of luxury property in the UK and dependant territories.
“The assets stored and laundered in London both directly and indirectly support President Putin’s campaign to subvert the international rules-based system, undermine our allies, and erode the mutually-reinforcing international networks that support UK foreign policy”, says the report. “Turning a blind eye to London’s role in hiding the proceeds of Kremlin-connected corruption risks signalling that the UK is not serious about confronting the full spectrum of President Putin’s offensive measures.”'
Read more: May must tackle ‘corrupt’ Russian money in UK, say MPs