One of the bravest men I have ever met is Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian journalist who has twice survived being poisoned, the last one had him inches from death. He and other brave dissidents like Bill Browder, campaigner and author of Red Notice, continue to work at great danger to themselves and their families, to expose the criminal kleptocracy that rules Russia at the moment. A major step forward in this battle was the vote in Parliament last week which drew cross-party support for a ‘Magnitsky’ amendment. Named after Bill Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested, tortured and killed in prison in Russia, this will allow the UK authorities to pursue those criminals and human rights abusers who currently use Britain as a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains. I was proud to be on the committee for the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill and to see these amendments passed. Other countries such as the USA, Canada and the Baltic states have also passed similar legislation and many other countries are looking at doing the same. Little by little the net is closing for corrupt individuals. To quote the late Boris Nemtsov, when the US was passing its own Magnitsky Act, this is the most pro-Russian legislation as it will hurt the kleptocrats who have stolen billions from ordinary decent Russians.
The Bill now also includes an amendment to which I had put my name. It will require all British territories including the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands to publish a register of beneficial ownership. This means anyone using these territories to invest money will be subject to similar levels of transparency as UK banks and financial institutions.