David Davis MP writes on why any company, working for oligarchs, found to be breaking rules must face the full force of the law
As published by The Sun:
SIX weeks ago, I led a debate in the House of Commons about wealthy oligarchs abusing the UK’s legal system to ruthlessly crush their opponents.
During that debate, my colleague, Bob Seely, named some of the London based firms offering their services to “some of the most unsavoury human beings and organisations on the planet”.
The people these firms are working for are Putin’s henchmen.
The fabulously wealthy Russian oligarchs are pouring money into the UK buying everything from our businesses to the palatial homes in our capital to some of our leading sports teams.
That debate was weeks before Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Since then, we have only heard more about how these firms and questions arise as to what checks they carry out on those they are working for.
The suspicion is that some clients would not be able to pass such scrutiny.
This is a shocking moral failure. But the rewards for such behaviour are vast.
The oligarch’s bottomless wallets fund lawyers demanding double or triple their already astronomical standard rates.
And as we move to clean out dirty Russian money in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, lawyers and accountants will doubtless be helping put blockages in the way of government policy.
They are helping oligarchs escape the UK with their ill-gotten gains.
What we would expect these oligarchs to now do is to sell their fabulously expensive flats and residences in London, or their companies, or their other assets, and run with their money.
Their army of well-paid advisers, lawyers and accountants will handsomely profit from this quick-fire sale.
These white-collar collaborators cannot continue to aid Putin’s oligarchs.
If they do, they will have the blood of innocent Ukrainians on their hands.
In their plush glass and steel towers, they may see themselves as far removed from the chaos on the streets of Kyiv. But their work is directly helping Putin and his murderous regime.
We must prevent our legal and financial services sectors from peddling their wares to high-paying corrupt oligarchs.
And the professional bodies in charge of these industries must look very hard at this issue and clean up their act.
Money coming into the UK has to be from legitimate sources. And none of the profits should go directly or indirectly back to Putin.
We cannot risk accidentally propping up a dictator in the Kremlin.
Any company found to be breaking the rules must face the full force of the law.
That means using on them the same sanctions we are using on individuals linked to the Russian regime.
Only then will the message be clear to these corrupt Russians – your dirty money is no longer welcome on these shores.