The British authorities are beginning the process of seizing the assets of Russian immigrants, Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said at a press conference in Tallinn on Monday.
According to him, these measures will be taken in response to the poisoning of former intelligent agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. British investigators have accused Russia of this.
Assets and accounts of “dubious origin” belonging to Russian citizens who are residing in the territory of Great Britain will be affected by the freeze, Williamson said.
“There are already warrants to seize dubious property, which is done in accordance with a recently passed law in the UK. Our goal is to ensure that, if it is unclear how property was obtained, it is registered, and necessary steps are being taken to do this.”
He added that, in his opinion, the goal of the Russian authorities is “to divide the UK and its allies,” but the united actions of London, the European Union and the U.S. “have demonstrated that this is impossible.”
Since January 31, British courts can request foreign owners of assets in the country to provide information on the status of the property (Unexplained Wealth Orders, UWO).
This action is provided for by the law that was passed about criminal finance, and it allows state bodies to demand that owners of real estate and assets worth more than 50 thousand pounds explain the origin of the funds.
If the owner refuses or cannot explain the source of capital, his property will be seized. The new laws are extended to include “politically significant persons.”
Earlier on Monday, the United States and 14 EU countries, including Germany, France and Italy, as well as Canada and Ukraine, announced the expulsion of more than 100 Russian diplomats. Sixty of them will be expelled from the United States, including 48 embassy employees and 12 employees of the permanent mission of the Russian Federation to the UN.