The Somerset Guardian, 8th July 2020

This week, the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced the first foreign citizens who are facing sanctions for alleged human rights violations in line with the United Kingdom’s (UK) new Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act was originally a bipartisan bill passed in the United States (US) in 2012, which sought to hold Russian officials to account for the death of Russian tax accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, in a Moscow prison in 2009. In 2018, following the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, Parliament passed the ‘Magnitsky amendment’ to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, granting the Government the power to impose sanctions on those who commit flagrant human rights abuses.

Addressing the Commons, Mr. Raab outlined the action that the UK was taking against those violating humans rights, profiting from them and those trying to launder their “blood-stained ill-gotten gains” in Britain, including two top-level Myanmar generals, two North Korean groups and twenty Saudi citizens who are linked to the death of Turkish journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. The new embargoes include visa bans and asset suspensions.

Mr. Raab said: “Today the government sends a very clear message on behalf of the British people that those with blood on their hands — the thugs of despots, the henchmen of dictators — will not be free to waltz into this country, to buy up property on the Kings Road, do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or frankly to siphon dirty money through British banks”.

I am pleased that the Government is taking such a firm stance, supported by new powers to stop criminals entering the UK, using our financial institutions to conceal illegal transactions and ultimately, gaining from our economy, which more than ever needs respectable people contributing towards it.

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