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Ukraine Crisis: UK ups game on corrupt assets

Written by Rachel Davies on Tuesday, 11 March 2014

As the UK Government meets with international partners today to discuss asset freezes and travel bans in relation to Russian’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis we’re waiting in anticipation for information on what action they decide to take.


As the UK Government meets with international partners today to discuss asset freezes and travel bans in relation to Russian’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis we’re waiting in anticipation for information on what action they decide to take.

10 days ago TI-UK issued a risk alert on corrupt Ukrainian money which may be flowing into or through the UK. The alert – in a form of a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and all UK Money Laundering Reporting Officers in financial institutions law and accountancy firms, and luxury estate agents – called for the Government to take a proactive stance on asset recovery and to ‘remind all at risk sectors, and their relevant regulators, of their obligations to examine money laundering risks related to members and associates of the current Ukrainian regime’.  Full details of what we called for can be found here.

The Chancellor has now responded to our alert and committed to implement all of our recommendations. His letter states:

‘The recent events have highlighted the risk of corrupt asset flight from Ukraine. The UK has offered to assist the Ukrainian authorities in recovering misappropriated assets. To that end the UK is sending an NCA led law enforcement taskforce to Kyiv to work with their Ukrainian counterparts in the initial stages of their investigations.’

The letter also states that the Treasury has contacted anti-money laundering supervisors and suggested that they ‘highlight the increased risk in relation to Ukraine to their firms and remind them of the need to have… ongoing monitoring and reporting of suspicious transactions.’ The full letter from the Chancellor can be downloaded here.

It is important to remember that crisis or not the UK continues to be a favoured destination for corrupt money from all over the world.  More must be done at our end to ensure that we are not complicit in the looting of public funds. We must tighten up our asset recovery system and make sure that our financial institutions, estate agents, law firms, and PR agencies are conducting adequate checks on any money they receive from a politically exposed person.

The UK should be a hostile environment for money laundering, as opposed to a luxury retreat for the corrupt.

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Read 12715 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 12:18
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Rachel Davies

Rachel is the Head of UK Advocacy at TI-UK. You can tweet her @rachelcerysd.

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