Will the U.K.’s new Economic Crime Act really help crack down on illicit wealth?
That’s the question posed by Martin Kenney in an exclusive opinion piece for the Toronto Star, who points out that loopholes in the UK’s new Economic Crime Act will restrict its effectiveness and fall short of what transparency campaigners have long been demanding.
The U.K.’s new Economic Crime Transparency and Enforcement Act (ECTE), which passed through Parliament in less than a day in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is already under fire for falling short of its intention to identify the ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) of U.K. land and properties.
There are concerns that inherent loopholes will restrict the act’s effectiveness and fall short of what transparency campaigners have long been demanding. This debate goes to the heart of an argument I have long been making: that any legislation is only as good as its enforcement and the punishment carried for contravening it.
And he notes:
The pressure for action has been growing for some time, catalyzed by the crimes being perpetrated by Russia against Ukraine. Economic sanctions are biting hard, and over the next few months will prove to be a meaningful weapon. But what of the oligarchs?
While media headlines have highlighted the seizure of super yachts and private jets from alleged Putin-supporting oligarchs, governments are still failing to explain the reality of asset seizures to their publics. Nobody is explaining that these are temporary measures.