UK Parliamentarians call for Magnitsky sanctions regime to include corruption

Members of the UK Houses of Commons and Lords have made the case for the country's Magnitsky sanctions regime to be harmonised with that of other allied countries to include people involved in corruption in addition to human rights abusers, to prevent the UK "becoming a magnet" for such individuals.

What has happened

Last month, 45 members of the UK Parliament wrote to the Foreign Secretary, calling for the Magnitsky Amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2017 to be extended to apply to corrupt individuals.

What does this mean

In their letter to Dominic Raab, the nine MPs and 36 Lords pointed out that the Act currently applies only to those who abuse human rights.

"While this is progress, we are writing to make [sic] flag an issue that may emerge surrounding corruption," the letter said.

The signatories of the letter pointed out that other countries, such as the U.S. and Canada, apply their Magnitsky sanctions to "highly corrupt individuals" in addition to human rights abusers. For the UK not to follow suit and harmonise its sanctions measures in line with its allies could have far-reaching unintended consequences, "sending all the wrong signals" to people involved in acts of corruption.

Should the UK add corruption as part of its Magnitsky sanctions regime, this would allow it to target those who stay in power through repression as well as key financial backers who benefit from abusive rule.

The UK is an attractive destination for many corrupt individuals who buy property and invest money here, the signatories argued. As such, it is vital that UK legislation falls in line with the U.S. and Canada Magnitsky efforts and includes corruption.

The MPs and Lords urged the government to introduce legislation that would address the issue to stop the UK "becoming a magnet" for people involved in corruption.

In a similar development, earlier this month, 46 Members of the European Parliament called on the EU to formulate its human rights sanctions regime as well as ensuring that the legislation bears the name of assassinated Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

Next steps

Please contact us if you have any questions on this development or how we can help your organisation navigate international sanctions regime.


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