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We did it! Liberal Democrats force Government to shut the oligarch loophole

March 16, 2022 10:20 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Yesterday was a good day for all those who have argued that we should be clamping down on Putin's cronies.

Liberal Democrats secured a significant win in emergency legislation being fast-tracked through Parliament to deal with dirty Russian money in the UK.

Liberal Democrats have secured concession after concession from the Conservative Government when it comes to finally taking action on dirty Russian money in our country.

The Economic Crime Act introduces crucial anti-money laundering measures - meaning Kremlin-linked oligarchs can no longer operate in the shadows, hiding away their money and their identities.

But we identified an oligarch loophole, that would have allowed Putin's cronies to carry on getting away with it. Buried within the Bill were powers which allowed the Government to exempt any individual from these crucial new requirements - an exemption which could be issued based solely on 'the economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom'.

We were clear: this would give oligarchs and their enablers carte blanche to carry on aggressively lobbying the government. The Conservative Government were offering up a get out of jail free card to these people.

We identified an oligarch loophole, that would have allowed Putin's cronies to carry on getting away with it.

So we did something about it. We tabled amendments, first in my name in the House of Commons, and then in the House of Lords, led by Lord Fox. We drew attention in the media to the oligarch loophole and put pressure on the Government to shut it. We made clear we would not be satisfied until this loophole was closed.

Last night, the Government conceded - accepting a Liberal Democrat amendment, tabled in the House of Lords by Lord Fox. The oligarch loophole is officially closed.

This is an enormous victory for us in our fight to end the era of Russian interference in the UK once and for all.

From putting a stop to golden visas, to establishing a register of overseas property ownership; from further sanctions on Putin's cronies to closing the oligarch loophole - Liberal Democrats have secured concession after concession from the Conservative Government when it comes to finally taking action on dirty Russian money in our country.

We will continue to demand more from the Conservative Government, which has turned a blind eye to Russian meddling for years.

We have led the way in Parliament, and thanks to our efforts the UK is finally starting to clear up its act.

And we will continue to demand more from the Conservative Government, which has turned a blind eye to Russian meddling for years. Liberal Democrats in Parliament are leading the way - from our calls on the Government to publish the long-overdue review into Putin's cronies in the UK, to making protecting our democracy a national security priority.