Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Saturday, Feb 04, 2023

UK law firms aiding Russian oligarchs could face penalties, No 10 suggests

UK law firms aiding Russian oligarchs could face penalties, No 10 suggests

No 10 warns City firms to ‘think very carefully’ before propping up those allied to Putin regime
Law firms and PR outfits working to stop Russian oligarchs from being hit by UK sanctions could themselves be targeted by financial curbs, No 10 has suggested, as it warned them to “think very carefully” before propping up those allied to Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The veiled threat came as foreign secretary Liz Truss announced further details of economic sanctions on Monday to cripple Russian state companies and banks.

The Foreign Office has revealed that it has been sent numerous legal letters by firms representing oligarchs and companies seeking to avoid sanctions amid the Ukraine crisis.

Truss reiterated that she had a “hitlist” of oligarchs who would face further sanctions and said the UK was also looking to go further than just individuals.

She said the UK would “target the families of oligarchs, the people that work for them, the people who support them and the people who enable them” – a hint at the disquiet of the use of London law firms, banks and reputation agencies.

Truss said she would legislate to introduce new powers to prevent Russian banks from clearing payments in sterling, measures which will be applied to Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. There will be a full asset freeze on three additional Russian banks.

The foreign secretary said that sanctioned companies and individuals would not be able to circumvent the rules using UK tax havens. “I have been very clear that we will absolutely be including British overseas territories in the measures we are taking,” she said.

“Alongside the legal services, the PR services, the accountancy services, we will be looking at the insurance services that these oligarchs rely on,” Truss added.

The new legislation will ban the Russian state from raising debt in the UK, and Russian companies – more than three million in total – will be prevented from accessing UK capital markets. There will also be an export ban further imposed across a number of key sectors including microelectronics, marine and navigation equipment.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, also said he had written to all UK ports asking them not to provide access to any Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said Russia “must be treated like a pariah state” and warned City legal firms, accountants and banks that they should not be supporting allies of the Russian regime.

Asked on Monday whether those law firms threatening the Foreign, Commonwealth
& Development Office (FCDO) could themselves be sanctioned, Downing Street said: “We will certainly keep all options under review … this is an incredibly serious situation and we want to take all possible steps to ratchet up the pressure on Putin and his regime to get him to step back from this path.

“Individuals and businesses seeking to facilitate that regime and Putin’s actions to continue down this path of violence, we think, should step back from that as well.”

Johnson’s spokesperson added that businesses should “think very carefully if they are still continuing to do anything that props up the Putin regime”.

He also said the sanctions were intended to bring down the Putin regime – but quickly clarified that he had misspoken and meant to say they were aiming to “inflict financial pain on Putin and his regime, to stymie the Russian war machine as it attempts to subjugate a democratic European country”.

“We are not seeking anything in terms of regime change. What we are talking about here clearly is how we seek to stop Russia subjugating a democratic country. That’s been the message throughout.

“This is about preventing an unwarranted attack. We believe that no one should be supporting in any way or propping up in any way the efforts by Putin’s regime.”

The spokesperson said further sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses could be expected in coming days after a series of measures since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday.

Asked whether Russian oligarchs should use their positions of influence to speak out against Putin, he said: “I wouldn’t seek to single out individuals but certainly we think everyone should be united in condemnation of actions Putin has taken.”

Earlier on Monday, Evgeny Lebedev appealed to Putin to stop the invasion of Ukraine through his Evening Standard newspaper.

The Russian-born crossbench peer and friend of the prime minister, who owns the London-focused Evening Standard alongside the Independent, used the front page to write an open letter to the Russian leader.

“I plead with you to use today’s negotiations to bring this terrible conflict in Ukraine to an end,” he said.

“As a British citizen I ask you to save Europe from war. As a Russian patriot I plead that you prevent any more young Russian soldiers from dying needlessly. As a citizen of the world I ask you to save the world from annihilation.”

Separately, Lubov Chernukhin, a major Conservative party donor, wife of Putin’s former finance minister and a former banker, told the Daily Telegraph she “would like to condemn all Russian military aggression in Ukraine in the strongest way possible”.

She added: “Over the last two decades, Putin’s despotic regime has degraded to Stalinesque persecution of the Russian people, brutally shutting down any political opposition or independent press and presiding over the catastrophic impoverishment of Russian citizens – whilst Putin and his clique continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the Russian people.”

Related Articles

Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'