Raab announces UK’s first sanctions under new Global Anti-Corruption regime

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Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street.

Individuals involved in some of the world’s most serious cases of corruption will no longer be able to channel their money through UK banks or enter the country thanks to new sanctions announced by the Foreign Secretary today.

The UK has, for the first time, imposed asset freezes and travel bans against 22 individuals under the new Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime which gives the UK unprecedented power to stop corrupt actors profiting from the UK economy and exploiting our citizens.

Corruption hurts individuals and undermines global trade, development and the rule of law. Over 2% of global GDP is lost to corruption every year, and corruption increases the cost of doing business for individual companies by as much as 10%.

Corruption also threatens our national security by exacerbating conflict and facilitating serious and organised crime, creating space for terrorist and criminal groups like Daesh and Boko Haram to operate.

This new regime will allow the UK to combat serious corruption, in particular bribery and misappropriation. It will promote effective governance, robust democratic institutions and the rule of law – demonstrating our power as a force for good around the world.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, said:

Corruption has a corrosive effect as it slows development, drains the wealth of poorer nations and keeps their people trapped in poverty. It poisons the well of democracy.

The individuals we have sanctioned today have been involved in some of the most notorious corruption cases around the world.

Global Britain is standing up for democracy, good governance and the rule of law. We are saying to those involved in serious corruption: we will not tolerate you or your dirty money in our country.

The measures are deliberately targeted, so the UK can impose sanctions on corrupt individuals and their enablers, rather than entire nations.

They are being taken partly in tandem with the US, which is today also announcing further corruption sanctions. Acting together sends the clearest possible signal that corruption comes with a heavy price.

The UK’s first wave of sanctions under this new sanctions regime is targeting:

  • those involved in the diversion of $230 million of Russian state property through a fraudulent tax refund scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky – one of the largest tax frauds in recent Russian history
  • Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their associate Salim Essa, for their roles in serious corruption. They were at the heart of a long-running process of corruption in South Africa which caused significant damage to its economy
  • Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, widely known as Al Cardinal, for his involvement in the misappropriation of significant amounts of state assets in one of the poorest countries in the world. This diversion of resources in collusion with South Sudanese elites has contributed to ongoing instability and conflict
  • several individuals involved in serious corruption in Latin America, including facilitating bribes to support a major drug trafficking organisation and misappropriation that has led to citizens being deprived of vital resources for development

The Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime builds on the success of the Global Human Rights sanctions regime established in July 2020, which has resulted in the UK imposing sanctions on 78 individuals and entities involved in serious human rights violations, including from Myanmar, Belarus, China and Russia.

The UK will continue to use a range of means to tackle serious corruption around the world, including funding the International Corruption Unit in the National Crime Agency. The International Corruption Unit and its predecessors have restrained, confiscated or returned over £1.1 billion of stolen assets, stolen from developing countries since 2006.

The full list of designations can be found on the UK sanctions list here.

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