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Russian oligarchs who shelter dirty money in Britain’s overseas territories to be named and shamed under new law to be forced on May next week
- 19 Tory MPs are backing a new law to published identities of those with assets
- Tory ex minister Andrew Mitchell is leading the charge for tougher action
- The change is in an amendment to a Bill returning to the Commons next week
- The proposed change comes in the wake of the Salisbury posion attack
Russian oligarchs who stash their dirty money in Britain’s overseas territories look set to be named and shamed under new laws to be imposed on Theresa May.
Some 19 backbench Tory rebels have joined forces to draw up a new law which will force territories like the Cayman Islands to publish the identities of those holding assets there.
The MPs, led by former minister Andrew Mitchell, are demanding tougher action on Vladimir Putin’s cronies in the wake of the Skripal poisoning.
Ex Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left fighting for their lives after being poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury last month.
Yulia has since been released from hospital but her father is still in a critical condition.
Some 19 backbench Tory rebels have joined forces to draw up a new law which will force territories like the Cayman Islands to publish the identities of those holding assets there. Theresa May (pictured in the Commons yesterday) only has a working majority of 13 and so she looks set to accept the amendment – or face a humiliating Commons defeat
MPs backing the measures say they will help to expose corrupt and laundered money plundered from Russia and stored overseas.
Mrs May only has a working majority of 13 and so she looks set to accept the amendment – or face a humiliating Commons defeat.
What is the Novichok nerve agent used against the Skripals?
The Novichok nerve agent used against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is among the most deadly poisons ever created.
They were secretly developed by the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold war in the 1970s and 1980s.
Communist scientists developed the poison so it would not be able to be detected by Nato’s chemical detection equipment.
They come in the form of a ultra-fine powder, Novichok is up to eight times more potent than the deadly VX gas.
Victims who are poisoned by the powder suffer muscle spasms, breathing problems and then cardiac arrest.
There is a known antidote to the nerve agent – atropine can block the poison.
But doctors find it very tricky to administer the antidote because the dose would have to be so high it could prove fatal for the person.
Novichok poisons are highly dangerous to handle, requiring the expertise of skilled scientists in a sophisticated lab.
Dr Vil Mirzayanov, former Chief of the Foreign Technical Counterintelligence Department at Russia’s premiere, was among the team of scientists who helped develop the agent.
In an article about the lethal weapon, he wrote: ‘They are extremely dangerous – most likely lethal – for people who would try to synthesise or manipulate them without the help of highly experienced scientists and engineers in special laboratory installations observing extreme safety measures.
‘Without exception, Novichok weapons cannot be used for any reason without specially trained military personnel under medical supervision.’
Mr Mitchell, a Tory MP and former international development secretary who is leading the Tory rebellion, told The Times he had the ‘certain’ backing of 19 Conservative backbenchers, more than enough to defeat the government.
He told the newspaper: ‘Mrs May has so far led the world in taking a stand against Russia’s challenge to international norms.
‘But if she is to deliver on her promises she must ensure that filthy money fuelling the worst abuses isn’t sheltering under a British flag anywhere in the world.’
The cross-party amendment to the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill, which will go to the Commons next week, has the backing of Tory MPs including Nick Boles and Ken Clarke.
Ministers had hoped they would be able to dodge a possible rebellion by agreeing to demands for a ‘Magnitsky amendment’.
This would mean the UK would follow in the footsteps of countries such as the US and Canada in targeting those accused of human rights abuses with visa bans.
But MPs say the UK must take far tougher action to show Russia that it will clamp down on corrupt Russian money.
Mrs May has led a global effort to hit back at Russia after the Salisbury poison outrage.
More than 100 diplomats around the world were expelled in retaliation to the attempted murder.
While countries across the world, including the US, Canada and the EU, condemned the poisoning.
The US announced the expulsion of 60 Russians, including including 12 intelligence officers from Russia’s mission to UN headquarters in New York.
Germany, France and Poland each expelled four diplomats, with Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic also taking action. Ukraine – not an EU state – joined the European revolt by expelling 13 diplomats.
Canada followed suit by expelling three Kremlin staffers and, in a flurry of action yesterday evening, both Hungary and Norway announced the expulsion of one diplomat respectively.
Soon after Spain announced the expulsion of two.
The demand for tougher action comes after the Salisbury poison outrage which saw Ex Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (pictured together) left fighting for their lives after being poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok
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