Finance Bill: Enough is enough on dirty Russian money

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran is today leading a cross-party grouping of MPs supporting an amendment to the Finance Bill making the case for a Register of Beneficial Ownership – a key step in combating the flow of Russian dirty money in the UK.

The amendment has received high profile support from all main parties, including Conservative MPs Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Kevin Hollinrake; Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge and Ben Bradshaw; and the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson Alyn Smith.

The amendment is the latest attempt by MPs to push the Government to finally legislate for a register. Last month, Layla Moran MP tabled the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, which also received cross-party support and is due to receive its second reading on 18th March.

A register of foreign property owners was first promised almost six years ago by the UK Government. Due to lax regulation, it is possible for individuals to purchase UK properties via shell companies without having to reveal their identity. Transparency International has identified £1.5 billion of UK property purchased with suspicious Russian wealth.

Layla Moran’s amendment, which will be debated later today, calls for an assessment of the impact of a register of beneficial ownership for foreign entities which own UK property upon the measures in the Finance Bill.

It comes as Boris Johnson has promised to bring forward the Economic Crime Bill – which supposedly would include measures to establish a register – in the third Parliamentary session.

Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, commented: “It’s been more than 2,000 days since the UK Government promised to finally take a stand on dirty Russian money in our country. But they have done nothing. Now, with Putin’s tanks on the border with Ukraine, MPs from all parties are making it clear that enough is enough.

Education spokesperson Layla Moran

“If we can’t stand up to Putin at home, how are we going to convince him that we will stand up to him when he threatens aggression abroad? We need to hit Putin and his cronies where it hurts – in their wallets.

“The Government must immediately bring forward measures to introduce a register of foreign entities which own UK properties. That way we can finally stop Kremlin-linked oligarchs from laundering their dirty money in our country.”

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