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Queen’s speech signals support for UK government’s proposed economic crime bill

The UK re-committed to the economic crime bill sanctioning kleptocrats; Japan and the EU toughen up against Moscow; and the FIFA corruption court date was postponed.

Napier AI
May 13, 2022

Friday the 13th delivers mixed fortunes to financial crime fighters and economic criminals alike, as the UK government opened parliament with a commitment to reinforcing the economic crime laws integral to sanctioning UK-based ‘kleptocrats and criminals’; the Japanese government and EU delegates agreed to toughen up on sanctions isolating Moscow; and the FIFA corruption scandal court date was postponed until early 2023.

Find out more on these stories below.

Queen supports UK government’s proposed economic crime bill to reinforce sanction powers against ‘kleptocrats and criminals’

Support for the proposed economic crime bill was expressed in the Queen’s Speech which Prince Charles delivered to the House of Lords earlier this week to open the parliamentary session on behalf of the Queen.

Standing in for his mum, the currently unwell Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles praised that the proposed measures intend to “tackle illicit finance, reduce economic crime and help businesses grow,” alongside the recommended national security bill, which aims to offer increased support to the security services charged with protecting the UK.

Conservative life peer Lord Sherbourne signalled his support for the introduction of the bill during the ensuing parliamentary debate, and said the bill showed that this government was “bearing down on kleptocrats, criminals, and terrorists who abuse our financial system.”

He also referenced the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act passed in March 2022, which brought into law the task to establish a “register of overseas entities and their beneficial owners and require overseas entities who own land to register in certain circumstances,” and made provision about “unexplained wealth orders…and… sanctions.”

UK Prime Minister (PM) Johnson also spoke to his pride in the UK’s role in sanctioning Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies over the Ukraine invasion. Of his recent trip to Kyiv, Ukraine’s stricken capital Johnson vowed that the UK “will persevere in our support for the Ukrainians until Putin has failed and Ukraine has won.”

Read more on this story at The Guardian, and start learning about the challenges of sanctions screening here.

Japanese PM and EU chiefs jointly plan tougher Russian sanctions and further Ukraine aid

On the 12th May, Japanese and EU leaders announced their mutual commitment to amplify sanction regimes against Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion.

Signalling their support for the Ukrainian people ravaged by the war, the announcement was made during a joint press statement after a the 28th European Union-Japan summit, held in Tokyo.

The EU-Japan statement sternly condemned “Russia’s aggression that causes massive loss of life and suffering to civilians. Those responsible for the war crimes and the atrocities perpetrated by Russia will be held accountable and brought to justice.”

This echoed the Japanese government’s 10 May 2022 statement, which described the Russian forces’ infliction of innocent civilian casualties as “absolutely unacceptable” and asserted that Japan “vehemently condemns it.” This statement was followed by an announcement of the measures aimed at sanctioning Putin’s government and included humanitarian aid to Ukrainian citizens in the form of a financial support package worth $300m (£243.54m).

The delegates also discussed the war’s potential impact on the Indo-Pacific region, noting the possible emboldening of China’s territorial ambitions, and North Korea’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles as areas of concern. They also highlighted climate, renewable energy, and digital transformation as issues of common interest.

Read more on this story at AP News, and learn more about sanctions lists here.

Former Fox executives facing trial for fraud and money laundering charges get reprieve until early 2023

Two former 21st Century Fox executives who are facing wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy charges stemming from their alleged involvement in the infamous FIFA broadcasting rights bribery scandal are now not due to face the courts until January 2023, following a postponement of their trial date.

Carlos Martinez and Hernan Lopez were initially publicly charged in April 2020, along with Full Play SA, an Argentina-based Uruguayan sports marketing company, and were due to sit in court in May 2022.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen said that the prosecutors and defendants had requested a delay due to the government disclosing “a large volume of discovery materials — perhaps as many as 7,000–8,000 documents conservatively totalling 40,000 pages — some of which had not been turned over as of May 6."

In 2020, an engaged US attorney said that the charges reflected his office’s “ongoing commitment to rooting out corruption at the highest levels of international soccer and at the businesses engaged in promoting and broadcasting the sport.”

Read more on this story at The Telegraph.

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Photo by Robert Eklund on Unsplash