The Home Office reported on 28 February that legislation to crack down on dirty money in the UK and corrupt elites was being introduced into Parliament. HM Treasury will have a more wide-ranging ‘strict civil liability test’ for monetary penalties, rather than the current one which requires firms to have knowledge or a ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ sanctions are being breached. The Register of Overseas Entities, introduced in tomorrow’s legislation, will apply retrospectively to property bought by overseas owners up to 20 years ago in England and Wales and since December 2014 in Scotland. The news release also announced that a new ‘Kleptocracy’ cell based in the NCA, previously announced, is being stood up immediately to investigate sanctions evasion. This will ensure that those seeking to bypass the severe economic sanctions announced against Russia, will be caught and punished.
On 28 February, the Law Society Gazette reported that long awaited measures to tackle corporate anonymity and to give teeth to the enforcement of unexplained wealth orders are among the measures in the UK Government’s much-trailed crackdown on ‘dirty money and corrupt elites’ following the invasion of Ukraine. The Bill to be introduced into the House of Commons on 1 March.