Today, the Foreign Affairs Committee publishes its report “The Cost of Complacency: illicit finance and the war in Ukraine” (attached).

 

The Committee calls on the Government to act now, while sanctions against Russia are in place, to tackle the flow of illicit finance through London.  

 

Inaction

The Committee finds that, so far, the Government’s rhetoric of “clamping down” has not been matched with constructive action. The report concludes that the Government’s lack of willingness to bring forward legislation stemming the flow of Russian money has directly contributed to the UK’s status as a safe haven for corrupt wealth. It is “shameful that it has taken a war to galvanise the Government into action”.

 

Enforcement and resourcing

Sanctions against oligarchs and those who support, or receive benefit from, the Russian Government are not in and of themselves enough. The Committee calls for consideration of whether prosecutions can be brought and whether criminal cases can be built. The report finds that legislation targeting enablers should be strengthened.

 

The report concludes that without the necessary means and resources enforcement agencies are toothless. The Committee calls for a substantial increase in funding and expert resourcing for the National Crime Agency, Serious Fraud Office and other responsible agencies.

 

Golden Visas

The Committee calls on the Government to publish its long-awaited review of the Tier 1 Investor visa scheme. The Government should also explain what action will be taken in relation to those who were granted a visa without due diligence, particularly those who now hold permanent residency or British citizenship, and what action it has taken against those it has deemed to be a national security risk.