Use of Unexplained Wealth Orders to target Russia 'difficult', Withers' fraud expert suggests

15/03/2018 Will Sidery

Despite the expulsion of 23 diplomats and the severing of high level contact between Russia and the UK, the chance of the latter implementing the use of the new tool of Unexplained Wealth Orders against allies of President Putin is unlikely,  despite what UK politicians have been suggesting. 

According to Stephen Ross, head of Wither's fraud team, the difficulty of using Unexplained Wealth Orders to try to hurt Russian President Vladimir Putin's allies (and thereby him) was that to "get one you have to show that it looks like they can't afford their assets."

Mr Ross explained that those 'allies' would still have their assets in Russia and elsewhere and targeting them financially would be trickier.

"It is often his opponents who have fled and had their assets 'appropriated' who may struggle with the test," Mr Ross explained. "That said, it would be remarkable if a Russian or two isn't high up on the National Crime Agency's list."

The breakdown in diplomatic relations between the two states came about after a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury earlier this month.


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