UK Moves to Quickly Seize Russian Oligarchs’ Assets

The UK parliament will debate plans that would allow for the seizure of assets belonging to Russian oligarchs suspected of having links to Vladimir Putin, even before formal sanctions have been imposed.

The UK parliament will debate plans that would allow for the seizure of assets belonging to Russian oligarchs suspected of having links to Vladimir Putin, even before formal sanctions have been imposed. If approved, the measure would represent a significant expansion of the UK’s current asset-freezing regime.

At present, only individuals who have been formally designated by the UK government as subject to sanctions are subject to asset freezing. Under the new proposal, however, any individual deemed by the government to be “a politically exposed person” with “unexplained wealth” could have their assets frozen.

An amendment to the economic crime bill that would require beneficial owners of companies to be disclosed has been put forward by former Tory cabinet minister David Davis and backed by a cross-party group of MPs. If passed, this would amount to the toughest action yet to clamp down on illicit Russian cash in the UK. The amendment would require companies to disclose their beneficial owners at the time of incorporation and update this information on a yearly basis. This would make it much harder for criminals to launder money through UK companies without being detected. 

The amendment has been supported by MPs from across the political spectrum, setting aside party differences in order to tackle this serious issue. With cross-party support, there is a good chance that the amendment will be passed into law, making the UK a less attractive destination for criminal money.

The UK government is facing heavy criticism for being too slow in response to Russia’s actions. They have finally responded by making a number of moves that could toughen their sanctions regime, following widespread calls from across Europe and America.

Undermining Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK has been leading the way on sanctions, ministers agreed that changes will be made to the economic crime bill to allow the UK to impose sanctions on any individual who has already been targeted by the EU or US. This means that the UK will not have to wait for a UN resolution in order to target individuals and organizations who are involved in serious human rights abuses or who have been complicit in corruption. The move has been welcomed by human rights campaigners, who say that it will make it easier for the UK to target those who have been responsible for some of the most egregious human rights violations in recent years.

The British government has also agreed to reduce human rights protections that have until now shielded oligarchs with interests in the UK from sanctions.

The Davis amendment would set up a fast-track route to allow the preemptive freezing of assets in cases that are merely under “review” but do not yet meet all formal legal processes necessary under current law.

Russian Woman Arrested and Fined Following TV Protest

Russian police detained and later released the journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who in March interrupted a live television broadcast to denounce the military action in Ukraine, posts on her social media channels showed.

Russian police detained and later released the journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who in March interrupted a live television broadcast to denounce the military action in Ukraine, posts on her social media channels showed.

“Went for a walk with the dogs, just stepped outside the gate, people in uniform approached me,” she wrote.

Her lawyer, Dmitri Zakhvatov, earlier confirmed her arrest to the Ria-Novosti news agency, saying: “I assume that it is linked one way or another to her act of protest.”

In March, Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One television, barged on to the set of its flagship Vremya (Time) evening news program holding a poster reading “No war” in English. Pictures of her interrupting the broadcast went around the world.

Ovsyannikova was quickly arrested and is the subject of “a pre-investigation check,” according to state-run Tass media. Her whereabouts were in question after her arrest, but she later appeared in a district court, sitting next to her lawyer, according to human rights attorney Sergei Badamshin’s Telegram channel.

In court, Ovsyannikova was still wearing the blue, yellow, red and white necklace that she previously said represented her hope that the countries could coexist peacefully.

“And the responsibility for this crime lies only on the conscience of one person, and that person is Vladimir Putin,” she said as She urged more people to protest the invasion.

After her arrest, Ovsyannikova was charged with “petty hooliganism” and she faces up to 15 days in jail or a fine of up to 30,000 rubles (about $500).

This is just the latest example of the Russian government’s crackdown on free speech and dissent. In recent months, we’ve seen a number of journalists and activists arrested or detained for speaking out against the government.

Opposition activist says Russia’s crackdown on free speech and dissent is designed to intimidate people

Leonid Volkov, an opposition activist and friend of Ovsyannikova, said her arrest was designed to intimidate people.

“The Kremlin’s goal is to show that if even a well-known journalist like Marina can be detained and fined, then no one is safe,” he said.

But Ovsyannikova’s supporters say her arrest will only make her more popular.

“The Kremlin is trying to scare people, but it’s only going to backfire,” said one of her fans on social media. “Marina is a hero.”

Ovsyannikova’s case is still ongoing, and it’s not clear yet what the outcome will be. But her arrest has once again shone a spotlight on the Russian government’s crackdown on free speech and dissent.

Government denies allegations, says protests are illegal

The Russian government has denied allegations of a crackdown on free speech and dissent, saying that all protests must be approved in advance and that anyone who breaks the law will be punished.

“There is no crackdown on free speech or dissent in Russia,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “All protests must be approved in advance, and those who break the law will be punished.”

Peskov also said that the Russian government “respects the right to free speech and freedom of assembly,” but that “these rights must be exercised within the framework of the law.”

Human rights groups express concern over increasing censorship in Russia

Human rights groups have expressed concern over what they see as an increasing trend of censorship in Russia.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of cases of people being arrested or detained for speaking out against the government,” said Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch. “This is a worrying trend.”

Lokshina said that the Russian government was “using the pretext of fighting ‘extremism’ to silence dissent and stifle critical voices.”

“This is having a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Russia,” she said.