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UK ‘bolstering’ sanctions with ‘new powers’ to move further and faster, PM says

Boris Johnson says changes will ‘ramp up the pressure on those criminal elites trying to launder money on UK soil’.

04 March 2022

The UK is “bolstering” its package of sanctions against the Kremlin with “new powers in our arsenal to go further and faster”, the Prime Minister has said.

Boris Johnson said the changes will “ramp up the pressure on those criminal elites trying to launder money on UK soil”, ensuring they have “nowhere to hide”.

The amendments to the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill being put forward by the Government will “help streamline the current legislation so we can respond even more swiftly and effectively to the current crisis in the way we sanction individuals”, the Foreign Office said.

The FCDO said the provisions will allow the UK to align more rapidly with the individual designations imposed by allies such as the US, Canada and the EU.

This will be achieved via an “urgent designation procedure”.

The changes also include shortening the length of time foreign owners of UK property will be given to declare their true identity under a new register of overseas entities, from 18 months to six months.

Criminal penalties for non-compliance are set to increase from fines of up to £500 per day to up to £2,500 per day under a further amendment.

As set out in the existing legislation, other sanctions will include prison sentences of up to five years.

Another change will commit the Government to publishing an annual report on the use of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs).

Data on the use of UWOs is already published in the annual Asset Recovery Statistical Bulletin, but the additional report will be laid before Parliament and provide further information beyond how many UWOs have been obtained and their estimated value, the FCDO said.

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