45 UK MPs and peers have signed a letter dated 18 March 2020 calling on Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to ensure that the current UK Magnitsky legislation imposes sanctions on kleptocrats and corrupt oligarchs as well as on those who violate human rights. Their principal motivation stems from the fact that currently the UK’s stance falls short of the US’s Global Magnitsky Act and its various iterations in other jurisdictions. Whilst the Global Magnitsky Act applies to both human rights abuses and acts of corruption, the UK Magnitsky legislation, the Sanctions and anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, applies only to human rights abuses.
Those who signed the letter are concerned that failing to harmonise the UK’s sanctions measures with those of its allies such as the US may have far-reaching, unintended consequences, “sending the wrong signals to those involved in such crimes”. They believe that the inclusion of corruption would allow the UK government to target key financial backers who benefit from abusive rule, and prevent the UK from “becoming a magnet for individuals engaged in corruption”, asking that legislation be put before both Houses which addresses this issue.