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TI-UK welcomes law enforcement action on assets of niece of Bashar al Assad

18th April 2019 – Media reports that the National Crime Agency (NCA) has frozen a bank account held by the niece of Bashar al Assad – the Syrian President – are welcomed today by Transparency International UK, but we warn that a step-change against suspicious wealth is still needed to prove the UK truly has a grip on the billions of pounds worth of dirty money in the UK.

According to media articles, the NCA has targeted assets owned by Anisseh Chawkat who recently completed a degree at a London university and is still living in the capital, whilst members of her family are subject to international sanctions.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“We welcome this reported action by the National Crime agency in targeting these funds of suspicious origin. There is more to do, as this represents only a fraction of funds from the Syrian regime that has entered the UK economy, and a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of corrupt wealth already in the UK.”

“This case highlights the ease with which individuals linked to corrupt and repressive regimes can gain access to the UK and its services, such as education and property, without questions being asked. It’s certainly better late than never that these particular assets are being targeted: over two years ago we reported on almost £18m of properties in London owned by figures connected to the Syrian regime.”

“That the family member of someone subject to international sanctions can live here so long with few questions asked illustrates how the UK is perceived to be a safe haven by those with something to hide.”

Our report from 2016 highlighted the weaknesses in the UK’s ability to act against the assets of rulers from “Arab Spring” states.

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Read 90 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:24

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