The UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (the “Committee”) has recently published the report on Russian corruption in the UK, calling for a coherent and proactive strategy on Russia. In the report “Moscow’s Gold: Russian Corruption in the UK”, it concluded that the UK financial markets are currently used as a loophole for Russian sanctioned companies to gain access to the capital markets and for Russia to raise sovereign financing.
The Committee called on the Government to work with the EU and the US to prohibit the purchase of bonds in which a sanctioned entity has acted as book runner, and to seek the EU’s agreement to bar the European clearing houses from making available Russian sovereign debt. The Government was also encouraged to broaden its approach to sanctions by including individuals closely connected to hostile regimes. The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill (2018), entering the final stages of its passage through Parliament, was considered an “important opportunity” to fill in the gaps currently existing in the UK/EU sanctions system. The Government was also encouraged to publish a list of individuals sanctioned specifically because of gross human rights violations, comparable to the US Magnitsky list, and the list should be published and maintained by the FCO as distinct from the general list of individuals under financial sanctions maintained by HM Treasury. The Government should set out its plans for assisting the governments of the Overseas Territories to establish publicly accessible beneficial ownership registers before 31 December 2020, and should provide the same level of assistance to the Crown Dependencies, encouraging them to take steps to meet the same standard of transparency.