UK Government response to consultation process

The UK Government published its analysis and response to the consultation process that it launched last year about a register of beneficial owners of overseas companies.

It sought evidence as to what further steps, beyond UWO legislation, are required to properly address the issues around kleptocratic abuse of our civic administration and property markets. ClampK participated in this process and largely welcomes the Government’s response.

We do however have grave concerns about 2 specific paragraphs.

In Paragraph 24 it states “The Government intends to strike a balance which ensures overseas entities have sufficient time to comply or sell the property while ensuring that the policy’s underlying objective is achieved in a reasonable timeframe”.

This seems to run the risk of facilitating further hiding of assets and is contrary to the intention to assist in uncovering abuses. Legitimate owners and users of foreign registration have nothing to fear from transparency and will not be unduly inconvenienced by having to respond quickly to reasonable requests for registration of information.

In Paragraph 30 it states “The Government therefore intends to allow beneficial interest but not legal title to pass to an overseas legal entity that does not have a valid registration number at completion or settlement. ”

This would seem to be facilitating a further obfuscation of the registration process if Beneficial Ownership is to be allowed to be separated from Legal Title.

We look forward to discussing this further with our colleagues and with Government.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia focus Kleptocracy Tour

ClampK organised a media tour of Russian properties last Thursday, 18th March, 2018.

We were very happy to have Chris Bryant MP, Tom Tugendhat MP and Helen Goodman MP with us for both their support and their open-minded commitment to hearing about the full scope of the problem.

We had a full spectrum of media formats (TV, radio, photojournalists, print and online) from the whole of the northern hemisphere, apart from the sad but predictable absence of any Russian media.

So far we have had media coverage from

We are not planning any public tours currently as we are not funded or insured for the insurance and administrative complications that are entailed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Special Kleptocracy Tour

In Expectation of the Royal Assent

of the Criminal Finances Bill

 ClampK

Committee for Legislation Against Moneylaundering in Properties by Kleptocrats

cordially invites

selected media representatives

to a special Kleptocracy Tour with added

Unexplained Wealth Orders

on the afternoon of April 27th in central London.

The Criminal Finances Bill is a significant milestone in the history of UK law making and represents a new chapter in the global fight against corruption and kleptocracy. The Bill opens the way forBritish law enforcement agencies to seize the UK assets of dictators and rights abusers, irrespective of where in the world offences are committed.

The essential component of the Bill is the Human Rights Abusers Assets Freeze Amendment – otherwise known as the ‘Magnitsky Amendment’. We are honoured to be joined by the authors of the amendment – Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge and leader of the global Magnitsky Justice Campaign Bill Browder – who will talk about the amendment, its role in prosecuting kleptocrats, and how it will apply to existing cases.

On this special Kleptocracy Tour, your guides will be:
Oliver Bullough       journalist and author of The Last Man in Russia;
Dr Andrew Foxall    Russia Studies Centre at The Henry Jackson Society;
Luke Harding          journalist and author of A Very Expensive Poison;
Dr Ala’a Shehabi     economist and writer, co-founder of Bahrein Watch;
Matthew Page         U.S. intelligence community’s top expert on Nigeria;
Roman Borisovich   ClampK founder, From Russia With Cash documentary

The guest speaker will be Professor Steve Keen of Kingston University. In addition, representatives of Transparency International, Global Witness, and ClampK, leaders of the campaign for transparency of global offshore tax havens, will attend.

The Tour around central London will be conducted from the comfort of a luxury coach.

The tour runs from 15.00 till until approximately 17.00.
Details of departure point will be supplied to those
RSVP’ing to ClampK at ‘campaigns@clampk.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Success! ‘Magnitsky Law’ adopted by UK in Criminal Finances Bill!

The Criminal Finances Bill together with the Magnitsky amendment form the cornerstone of the new anti money laundering regime in the UK.

Now if law enforcement agencies have reasonable grounds to suspect that someone has benefited from illegal activities they will be able to apply for a court order requiring that person to explain the origin of assets worth over 100,000 which appear disproportionate to their known income. Failing to provide an adequate explanation will lead to a rebuttable presumption that the asset in question was obtained through unlawful conduct and can be treated as “recoverable property” under the existing civil recovery powers in POCA.

In a similar fashion the government can freeze the assets of someone who has been involved in a human rights violations in a foreign country provided that if a similar offence were committed in the UK it would be criminal.  We welcome the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders and human rights abusers asset freezes, expecting the government to start enforcing these measures by the end of this year.

However, this legislation is incomplete without the requirement for mandatory disclosure of the beneficiaries of offshore companies holding properties and other assets in the UK.  So that money launderers and human rights abusers cannot hide behind anonymous offshore companies, the government should deliver the relevant law as soon as possible.

The work started by the consultations on property ownership last April should be completed in the manner agreed then, which will make the UK anti money laundering legislation the most comprehensive and robust in the world.  Nonetheless even the toughest laws and regulations will prove ineffective without their enforcement.  We need to see prosecutions with real cases tried in courts and results being delivered.

In the meantime we would like to thank our supporters in Parliament who made very helpful contributions including; Dame Margaret Hodge, Dominic Raab, Tom Brake, Douglas Carswell, Ian Blackford, Sir Eric Pickles.

The advice of Bill Browder, Jonathan Fisher QC, Mark Sabah was generous and influential beyond measure.

The campaigning organisations TransparencyInternational, Christian Aid, Global Witness and the Anti-Corruption APPG gave invaluable support throughout our efforts and were welcoming and encouraging of this insurgent effort.

Our thanks again to all!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Support the Hodge/Raab amendment!

Tomorrow the MPs will vote on the final 3rd reading of the Criminal Finances Bill.  

The Magnitsky amendment by Hodge/Raab is remarkably simple: it allows the government and members of the public to go to the UK court against violations of human rights which occur outside of the UK but if were committed in the UK would have been illegal.  Based on this very straightforward test the UK court can freeze assets of the foreign perpetrators of human rights violations.

Given the support the amendment received in the Parliament and in the media, it is not surprising that the government has come out with their own version of the amendment drafted by the Home Office.  Mrs Rudd’s version is better drafted and would be totally acceptable except for one critical issue: the Home Office proposal makes the right to pursue foreign human rights abusers solely the prerogative of the government.

We wholeheartedly welcome the changes to the anti money laundering regime the Bill will make and especially the human rights abusers assets freeze amendment – a robust and powerful clause creating a UK equivalent of the US Magnitsky Law (“The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012”).  We are pleased to note Secretary’s Rudd assurances that the Criminal Finances Bill (CFB) will receive Royal Assent this Spring and that its provisions will come into force later this year.  But there is one final effort we need to deliver – urge the MPs to vote for the amendment introduced by Margaret Hodge and Dom Raab and supported by a large cross-party group.

ClampK firmly believes that the ability of general public to challenge foreign human rights violations is an integral part of the political freedoms of the United Kingdom similar to the right of every British citizen to report and pursue in court human rights abuse should it happen in this country.

WE URGE MPS TO VOTE FOR THE HODGE/RAAB VERSION OF THE MAGNITSKY AMENDMENT

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oxbridge Tour Announced

Aaaaand ….WE’RE BACK…. sooner than expected….!!

Over at Kleptocracy Tours are the details of a tour for June 10th of Oxford, with substantial input from and about Cambridge, highlighting the links both universities have with foreign money of dubious origin.

Please, be aware that this will a walking tour of Oxford and a sitting tour of Cambridge and will not, unlike the London tours, be on a coach. The walking part will consist of a  45min/1hour guided walk around Oxford and then we will sitting down in a private venue for a verbal tour of similar locations in Cambridge and for an open and general discussion of the ramifications and implications of these phenomena.

Head on over there for details of the tour and of how to apply for seats.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Next Steps

Again, thank you all for making the Kleptocracy Tours the resounding media sucess that they were.

We are very happy with the position announced by the Cabinet Office as to what the UK Govt. thinks the new legislative arrangements should be. Your participation and reportage contributed significantly to this change.

We will be reviewing what our next steps should be over the next week or so in the light of these announced changes.

We are conscious of how many of you would like to see further tours and we will announce here how we intend to make this happen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Contributions

The 7 tours of the 2nd Kleptocracy Tours finished last week on the same day as the Global Anti-Corruption Summit was taking place in London.
Thank you all for coming. Our special thanks go to those who were our guides to the London sites of the proceeds of kleptocracy and the background to those sites.

We asked for contributions from members of the public on those tours that were open to the public (Wed and Thur only).

In the interests of the transparency we are asking for, we want to report that we were generously supported by those people to the tune of 440Stg. We tipped the bus drivers 150Stg and we have spent 220Stg on trademarking the name ‘Kleptocracy Tours’ for the purpose of protecting the idea from unscrupulous exploitation. We have spent about 50Stg on printed materials and on domain name registrations. So we are pretty much at a ‘wash’ on the cash contributions.

Some of these tours, which were reserved for staff and guests of particular NGOs, were paid for by those NGOs. All of the rest of these tours and the earlier ones were paid for by the Campaign and there were no other contributions sought or received.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kleptocracy Tours – the Dates!

We will be running tours on Monday through Thursday next week!

There will be two tours on Mon and Tues and Thurs and one on Wed morning. The times will be at 0930 and 1400.

It’s by invite only so please write to ‘campaigns at clampk.org’ for a place. There are still  places available for Wednesday and there is limited availability on other days.

We’re very grateful for the support of several of the organisations in our coalition in sponsoring some of the trips. Any support that you might care to give on the day will also be greatly appreciated as we are funding this out of our own pockets.

Looking forward to seeing you on the bus!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Global Anti-Corruption Summit – Kleptocracy Tours.

We are happy to  announce that we will be running a series of tours to coincide with the AntiCorruption Summit in May this year.

For details, how to register and the background to the tours head on over to our sister site at KleptocracyTours.org .

The PanamaPapers saga has shown us how widespread and entrenched and commonplace these practices have become. We know also that Mossack Fonseca are just the tip of the iceberg.

…………….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment