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by Kirsteen Paterson
15 March 2022
Russian prime minister hit in fresh round of UK sanctions as Economic Crime Act is fast-tracked

Dmitry Medvedev (right) holds a news conference at The Kremlin with David Cameron in 2011

Russian prime minister hit in fresh round of UK sanctions as Economic Crime Act is fast-tracked

Vodka tariffs increase in further measures to put pressure on Putin

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and former president Dmitry Medvedev are amongst those facing a new round of sanctions as new rules to tackle dirty money become law. 

The UK has announced 370 fresh sanctions as well as new trade restrictions. 

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary and Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, are also amongst those now affected by asset freezes and travel bans. 

An additional 35 per cent tariff on vodka has been levied and the Economic Crime Act has been fast-tracked through parliament in a new round of action as the UK Government reacts to criticism over the speed of its response to the Ukraine crisis and calls to target those closest to the Kremlin. 

The new legislation, which has now received Royal Assent, will allow the UK Government to “move more quickly to impose sanctions against oligarchs already designated by our allies, as well as intensifying our sanctions enforcement,” the Home Office said. 

Those allies include the European Union, USA and Canada. 

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the government is holding Putin’s allies to account for “their complicity in Russia’s crimes in Ukraine”. She added: “We will keep increasing the pressure on Putin and cut off funding for the Russian war machine.” 

The new provisions also include a register to tackle criminals laundering money in the UK property market and the removal of barriers to the use of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs). 

The new Register of Overseas Entities will require those behind foreign companies with UK property to reveal their identities. Those who refuse to reveal their ‘beneficial owner’ will face “tough restrictions” on selling their assets and rule-breakers can be fined up to £2,500 per day or jailed for up to five years.  

Companies House will begin work to implement the register “as quickly as possible”, working with the UK’s three land registries.  

Reforms to UWOs will remove key barriers to their use, increasing time available to law enforcement to review material provided in response to a UWO and protecting them from incurring substantial legal costs if they act reasonably in a case that is ultimately unsuccessful.   

The prime minister has also announced a new ‘Kleptocracy Cell’ based in the National Crime Agency to target sanctions evasion.

Finance, justice and home affairs ministers from the G7, EU and Australia will take part in the inaugural meeting of the ministerial Russian Elites Proxies and Oligarchs Task Force tomorrow. 

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