A promised crackdown on Russian ‘dirty money’ in London will be delayed for 18 months, prompting criticism that Boris Johnson is dragging his heels.
Leader of the opposition Keir Starmer pointed out that a register of the real foreign owners of property will not come into force until autumn 2023 at the earliest, which is “far too long for the Ukrainian people.”
“Why are we giving Putin’s cronies 18 months to quietly launder their money out of the UK property market and into another safe haven,” he demanded to know.
Starmer said he was “ashamed” that shell companies behind Russian ownership of UK assets are only known because of the bravery of the jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Starmer also demanded to know why the Russian-Israeli owner of Chelsea football club, Roman Abramovich, has not yet been sanctioned. “We must stand up to Putin and those who prop up his regime,” he told Johnson at prime minister’s questions.
In response, Johnson said it was not “appropriate” for him to comment on individual cases, but insisted the actions taken by the UK are already “having an effect in Moscow.”
“By exposing the ownership of properties, of companies in the way that we are, by sanctioning 275 individuals already, a further 100 last week, the impact is being felt,” he told MPs.
Johnson added: “What we will publish in addition, is a full list of all those associated with the Putin regime.” And he said: “I think the House should be proud of what we have done already. And I can tell him that there is more to be done.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: INDEPENDENT