British deputies of the House of Commons have passed a draft that would allow British law enforcement bodies to seize the UK assets of dictators and rights abusers, even for offences committed overseas. This was reported by the Guardian.
The Commons unanimously passed the third reading of the criminal finances bill, a wider measure that adapts the earlier Proceeds of Crime Act, allowing police to target “unexplained wealth”.
The bill was passed with an amendment that means assets can be seized from people who have carried out “a gross human rights abuse or violation” outside the UK.
The government-sponsored amendment was included following heavy cross-party pressure from MPs for action to tackle the flood of money entering the UK from corrupt politicians, criminals and others.
A collection of 50 MPs from various parties, led by the Conservative Dominic Raab, came together to propose an amendment that would have allowed NGOs and individuals to seek to persuade a senior high court judge to seize the assets of a rights abuser.
It called for a public register of those whose assets had been seized and would have placed an obligation on ministers to seek an order if they were presented with compelling evidence of abuse and it was in the public interest to do so. The amendment was named after the Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in prison in Moscow in 2009 after exposing an alleged $230m (£184m) fraud carried out by leading Kremlin officials.
Speaking in the Commons, Raab said it was estimated that £30m of the money exposed by Magnitsky had been sent to the UK, with no action from the police. It was “by no means an isolated case”, Raab said, arguing that Britain must do more to tackle money connected to rights abuses.
Earlier it was reported that British court will deliver judgement on Yanukovych debt in April. According to Danylyuk, representatives of the Ukrainian side convincingly proved its position.