Truss unveils new measures to tighten squeeze on Putin's cronies


And as international talks about sanctions intensified, Dominic Raab backed calls for Ukrainian refugees in the UK to be housed in mansions seized from Russian oligarchs.

He also said new legislation would stop them abusing British libel laws to silence critics here.

Ms Truss last night put forward amendments to a Bill designed to accelerate restrictions on Kremlinlinked businesses.

The Foreign Secretary said: “The changes will allow us to go faster and harder on those closest to Putin, including oligarchs, as we ratchet pressure in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression.”

One proposed change will allow the UK to swiftly coordinate with the EU to take punitive action.

Another would shorten the deadline for overseas companies to register their beneficial owners from 18 months to six months.

Officials say the measure will crack down on money laundering through UK property while giving people who hold real estate in overseas entities for legitimate reasons time to comply with the new rules.

A further amendment will also increase criminal penalties for noncompliance from fines of up to £500 per day to up to £2,500 per day.

PM Boris Johnson said: “The UK has led the way with the toughest package of sanctions against Putin’s regime and we’re bolstering this with new powers.

“We will ramp up the pressure on those criminal elites trying to launder money on UK soil and close the net on corruption. They will have nowhere to hide.” But Labour last night said the latest measures were long overdue.

Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said: “It is totally unacceptable that Putin-linked oligarchs who should have already faced sanctions are allowed to move money because of Government incompetence.

“Ministers should have introduced the laws needed to work in lock-step with our allies months ago, not be left sanctioning hundreds fewer individuals and entities than the EU and the US.

“We must act against these individuals in days, not months.”

Ms Truss also urged Nato allies to do more to restrict Russian oil and gas exports and increase pressure on Putin’s murderous regime.

At a meeting in Brussels, the Foreign Secretary said more sanctions were needed to cripple Putin’s economy. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “nothing is off the table” in terms of energy sanctions. But he added that it was not in the US interest to cut the global supply as this would send the price of oil surging.

Instead, “we have a strong interest in degrading Russian energy,” and reducing dependence on Russian energy in the long term, Mr Blinken said. Earlier, Mr Rabb indicated his support for using property grabbed under sanctions to be used to shelter Ukrainian families who have fled the invasion.

His Cabinet colleague Michael Gove is reported to have argued in favour of the idea within the Government while the Lib Dems have publicly called for the proposal to be implemented.

Asked on LBC whether the Government could seize property owned by Russian oligarchs, Mr Raab said: “If we’ve got the evidence and the legal basis, then we’ll do it.”

And the Deputy PM said he would prevent Russians linked to the evil Kremlin regime from exploiting the British justice system to silence those investigating corruption in Putin’s rotten regime.

The Cabinet minister told BBC Breakfast: “We have seen oligarchs and kleptocrats and those with links to Putin coming into this country and suing under our libel laws against those who are shining a light on corruption and abuse.

“I’m going to be putting forward proposals to prevent that.”

But Mr Raab refused to be drawn on why Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had not been sanctioned as he prepares to sell the club. He said: “We do not want to give advance sight to anyone of the measures that we take.”



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