The Guardian suggests that Russian oligarchs used some legal loopholes to invest in UK, thus managing to secure some of their assets. The same article cites possible solutions for happening this in the future:

To expose, investigate and block the Kremlin’s money, we need three things, all of which are easily achievable if the political will can be found: proper transparency of shell companies, so we know who owns what; robust regulation of professional enablers, so crooked lawyers and accountants can be prosecuted; generous funding of law enforcement, so we can confiscate suspicious wealth.

Another Guardian article mentions that London Stock Exchange suspended a bunch of companies with strong ties to Russia. I guess that can count as better regulation of foreign investment, but I am not sure if this is temporary (i.e. until the Russian invasion ends) or not.

Has the UK taken any steps in the long-term for better regulating foreign investments?


1 Answer 1


Yes, the UK introduced the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act, which had its first reading on March 1st and, following a relatively quick journey through Parliament, was given Royal Assent on March 14th.

The full act can be read above, but the government’s press release (excerpt below) mentions a new ‘Register of Overseas Entities’, and reforms to Unexplained Wealth Orders. There are also measure in the act which attempt to streamline the government’s ability to impose sanctions.

A new Register of Overseas Entities, requiring those behind foreign companies which own UK property to reveal their identities, will also be created under the act. Entities who refuse to reveal their ‘beneficial owner’ will face tough restrictions on selling the property and those who break the rules could face a fine of up to £2,500 per day or up to 5 years in prison. This will be a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies in investigating suspicious wealth. Companies House will now begin work to implement the register as quickly as possible, working closely with the UK’s 3 land registries. Any foreign company selling properties between 28 February and the full implementation of the register will also be required to submit their details at the point of sale.

Reforms to Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) will remove key barriers to their use, increasing time available to law enforcement to review material provided in response to a UWO and protecting them from incurring substantial legal costs if they act reasonably in a case that is ultimately unsuccessful.

Furthermore, UWOs will be more effective against those who hold property in the UK via trusts and other complex ownership structures. The government has also committed to publishing an annual report on their use.

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    The government clearly intends these laws to work in a direction similar to what the Guardian wrote. Whether they objectively achieve a meaningful improvement is probably very hard to judge. Maybe there is a statement by the Guardian or some other non governmental source on whether they think this is a useful law or just a figleaf to give the appearence of doing something.
    – quarague
    Apr 17, 2022 at 18:53

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