The vast majority of the UK public back the government's new Economic Crime Bill designed to crack down on dirty money in the property money, according to research by anti-money laundering experts.
Research revealed they want more done to battle money laundering in the UK, but also believe all nationalities should be targeted, not just Russians.
This week, the UK government announced sanctions against a further 370 Russian and Belarusian individuals and entities, bringing the total up to an estimated 1,000, and including such high-profile names as Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
At the same time, a new law to tackle ‘dirty money’ in the UK has been fast-tracked through parliament at record speed to target Russian oligarchs who have buried their money deep into London property.
The Economic Crime Act includes a new register requiring foreign owners of UK property to declare their true identity. It will be updated on an annual basis and failure to comply will result in assets being frozen, preventing them from being sold or rented, leaving them essentially useless.
Off the back of this, Credas Technologies commissioned a survey of the UK public and found that the vast majority are in strong support of these measures, with just 3% against the government’s decision to impose sanctions on wealthy Russians in retaliation to the invasion of Ukraine which has now entered its second month.
A huge majority (91%) also wanted to see more done to stop money laundering within the UK, especially through the purchase, sale or rent of commercial or residential real estate.
It's no surprise, then, that 87% backed the government’s fast-tracked Economic Crime Act. That said, some 86% also want to see it utilised thoroughly across all nationalities committing money laundering crimes, not just Russians.
“The practice of money laundering is as old as the hills, but the Ukraine conflict and the government’s sanction against Russia, have certainly brought it well into the public eye and it’s fair to say that many have perhaps been surprised as to just how prominent it is within the UK," Tim Barnett, CEO of Credas Technologies, said.
He added: "It’s also great to see the government fast tracking new legislation that will keep the spotlight firmly fixed on this illegal activity and hopefully this crackdown will come across the board, not just against those with Russian passports in order to grab the headlines.”