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British police say: We're coming after "dirty money", but it might take time

From Reuters - April 10, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is expected to secure a handful of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) in the next few months as the authorities step up their efforts to target dirty money that flows through the country, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.

In the wake of the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter last month in England last month, an attack Britain has blamed on Russia, Prime Minister Theresa May promised to tackle the corrupt elites living in the United Kingdom.

Investors from Russia, China and the Middle East have poured billions into London, buying everything from luxury properties to entire companies, but the source of some of the wealth has been questioned by transparency campaigners.

One of the weapons available to the British authorities to tackle illicit funds are UWOs, which have been only been used twice so far against the same individual in February to investigate 22 million pounds ($31 million) of assets.

If the wealth is not properly explained, the authorities can then apply to the courts to seize the assets.

Donald Toon, Director for Economic Crime at Britains National Crime Agency, said there were about another 100 cases his officers were working on and he expected about five more UWOs to be secured in the next three months.

This is not all about Russia. Its not a crime to be born Russian. Its not a crime to be rich, he told reporters.

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