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Britain Set To Seize Assets Of Corrupt Politicians, Others

Britain no longer wants to be a safe haven for the money of corrupt politicians , public officials and organised crime , as a new law to clamp down on money laundering goes into effect this week .

Officials estimate that around £ 90 billion ($ 127 billion , 102 billion euros ) of illegal funds are laundered through Britain every year and this includes money stolen from the Nigerian treasury .

Now officials will use new unexplained wealth orders (UWOs ), which came into effect this week , to seize suspicious assets and hold them until they have been properly accounted for, Ben Wallace , Security and Economic Crime Minister told The Times newspaper on Saturday .

Wallace said Russian oligarchs suspected of corruption will be forced to explain their wealth .

Wallace said he wanted the “ full force of the government ” to come down on corrupt politicians and international criminals using Britain as a haven.

“ When we get to you we will come for you , for your assets and we will make the environment that you live in difficult , ” he said .

Speaking of Russian involvement, Wallace highlighted the so – called Laundromat case in which ghost companies — many based in Britain — were used to launder Russian money through Western banks .

“ What we know from the Laundromat expose is that certainly there have been links to the (Russian) state. The government ’ s view is that we know what they are up to and we are not going to let it happen any more , ” Wallace said .

“ Beneath the gloss there is real nastiness , ” he said of international crime lords.

“ We are going to go after these iconic individuals, whether they are known about in their local community or known about internationally. ”

UWOs allow the British authorities to freeze and recover property if individuals are unable to explain how they acquired assets in excess of £ 50, 000 .

Wallace said that a lawmaker from a country where MPs do not receive big salaries , who suddenly buys a luxury townhouse in central London, would have to prove how they paid for it .

“ We will seize that asset , we will dispose of it and we will use the proceeds to fund our law enforcement, ” he said .

“ I have put pressure on the law enforcement agencies to use them ( UWOs) soon . ”

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