UK punishes Russian oligarchs
The British government has imposed sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs considered to have close ties to President Putin, including the owner of the football team Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich. Their assets are to be frozen and they are banned from entering the country. In addition, they are no longer allowed to do business with British companies or private individuals. Are these measures justified?
Finally cracking down
The Times is delighted:
“No one should underestimate the significance of the move against Mr Abramovich and Mr Deripaska. They represent two of the wealthiest and highest-profile oligarchs in the world who had succeeded in forging close links with influential members of Britain's political, financial and social elite. As such they came to symbolise the craven way in which over the past three decades this country has laid down a welcoming mat to the oligarchs, gangsters and kleptocrats, helping them to launder their fortunes and their reputations.”
Even the super-rich have rights
The law must continue to prevail, the Financial Times warns:
“The bill, fast-tracked through parliament, will make it easier for the government to apply sanctions, and make them harder to challenge. While there is an understandable urgency to crack down on those who may fund Putin's inhumane war machine, care must be taken not to erode the rule of law; one of the distinguishing features between the UK and Russia. There must be checks and balances on an executive that can suddenly deem someone an enemy of the state - after years of open-armed largesse - and freeze their assets.”
Why not always this fast?
The Greek website News247 is surprised to see everything suddenly happening so quickly:
“Western states, which until now have had a hard time uncovering international tax evasion, are finding all these assets with Russian origins. ... But this also raises some questions: Where on earth have all these effective money monitoring mechanisms been in recent years? At a time when there is so much talk about massive tax evasion by multinationals. ... How is it that while one Russian oligarch after another is being tracked down, the same is not happening with international tax evaders in the European Union?”