On December 5, Members of Parliament from all of Britain’s main political parties have joined forces to introduce Magnitsky asset-freezing legislation in the UK as part of the Criminal Finances Bill.
The new anti-corruption legislation, known as the “Magnitsky Amendment,” will apply to those who are involved in or profited from human rights abuse, including those engaged in retaliation against whistleblowers on foreign corruption.
The Magnitsky Amendment will enable both the government and private parties to apply for the freezing of UK assets belonging to human rights abusers and their beneficiaries. It will be part of the UK’s Criminal Finances Bill, aimed to strengthen UK’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance legislative framework.
Dominic Raab, MP for Esher & Walton who tabled the amendment, said:
“People with blood on their hands for the worst human rights abuses should not be able to funnel their dirty money into the UK. This change in the law will protect Britain from becoming a safe place for despots and dictators to hide their money.”
“For too long the UK has acted as a safe haven for foreign kleptocrats and their ill-gotten gains,” said Dame Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking and one of the initiators of the legislation in the UK Parliament. “We hope this legislation will help to end this.”
The Magnitsky Amendment addresses some of the shortcomings of the UK regime, which currently fails to prevent international criminals from storing the proceeds of their crimes in this country. A recent Home Affairs Committee report estimated that over £100 billion is laundered through UK financial systems each year.