Firms warned they face penalties if they hamper sanctions on Russia
Firms that aid Vladimir Putin face penalties if they hamper efforts to sanction Russian regime, Boris Johnson warns
- UK companies could face penalties if they frustrate any sanctions against Russia
- A Tory MP used parliamentary privilege to name law firms assisting oligarchs
- MP Bob Seely said the UK legal system had become ‘corrupted’ by kleptocrats
Firms and individuals could face penalties if they frustrate efforts to sanction Vladimir Putin’s henchmen, Downing Street warned yesterday.
It came a day after Tory MP Bob Seely used parliamentary privilege to name a number of ‘amoral’ British lawyers he said had worked for oligarchs to silence the press.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said yesterday: ‘Individuals and companies should think carefully about what role they are playing in assisting these individuals who are in some cases bankrolling Putin’s regime.
‘We are carefully considering all ways to go further.’
In a warning to all businesses – not just law firms – the spokesman added: ‘People should think very carefully about how they should engage with any organisations that may be assisting Putin even inadvertently.’
Tory MP Bob Seely used parliamentary privilege to name a number of ‘amoral’ British lawyers he said had worked for oligarchs to silence the press
Mr Seely said the UK legal system had become ‘corrupted’ by money from kleptocrats, and accused lawyers of working on behalf of oligarchs to undermine freedom of speech and silence the British press.
Asked whether they could face sanctions, The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘We are considering what the right approach is.
‘We’re talking in terms of making sure these companies aren’t assisting or in fact deflecting from entities and oligarchs who might be benefiting the Putin regime, and we’re keeping that under careful review.
‘I think individuals and entities should think very carefully about the role they’re playing.’
In a warning to all businesses – not just law firms – the spokesman added: ‘What we are trying to do across the board, whether it’s businesses, oligarchs or in the cultural sector as well is to make clear that even when we’re not taking legislative action, people should think very carefully about how they should engage with any organisations that may be assisting Putin even inadvertently in the invasion in Ukraine.’
It emerged this week that the Government had received warning letters from law firms earning huge fees by acting for Russian clients facing sanctions.
In the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Seely, the Tory MP for the Isle of Wight, said: ‘What on earth has happened to some of the major legal firms in this country that they specifically avoid “know your client” checks because those clients are corrupt or criminal or linked to organised crime?
‘It’s not only the oligarchs, it’s their millionaire servant class of enablers who enable the billionaire class of oligarchs who enable this neo-fascism that we now see in Europe.
‘There are guilty men and women who have done a really bad job at facilitating the agents of fascism.’
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