The British government announced on Thursday that it would immediately stop issuing “gold visas” to wealthy investors as London tightens its grip on Russian currency amid the Ukrainian crisis.
Foreign Minister Lis Tras said on Twitter that the move was aimed at tackling illegal funds. “There is no place in the UK for this kind of bad action, including what we see from Russia at the moment,” he added.
Created in 2008, these visas are reserved for investors seeking a minimum of £ 2 million ($ 2.7 million) to settle in the UK.
However, some cases have raised “concerns” on security grounds, especially in relation to “those who have illegally amassed their assets” and those involved in corruption, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
In this context, Home Secretary Priti Patel said, “We want to ensure that, among other things, the British have confidence in the system by stopping the corrupt who threaten our national security and bring dirty money into our cities.”
The decision on “gold visas” applies to all countries, but the focus is now on Russia.
Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of being lax in its flow of suspiciously-looking Russian money, especially in some luxury areas of the British capital, which have earned the nickname “Londongrad”.
The prime minister, who was questioned on Thursday, outlined “tough” laws against money laundering before talking about the tight sanctions London had prepared during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In late January, Tom Dukendot, chairman of the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, blamed the UK for the current crisis over London’s role in global money laundering.
The commission has been warning for years that the administration’s inaction has emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin over dirty money embezzled from assets such as the UK’s financial circles and luxury real estate.
On February 1, the company announced that it would launch an investigation into the entry of “dirty money” into the country and its foreign territories.
The NGO Transparency International estimates that the UK property of Russian citizens linked to corruption or the Kremlin is worth 1.5 1.5 billion ($ 2 billion).
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