Michael Gove wants London homes owned by Russian oligarchs to be seized

Michael Gove
Michael Gove

Michael Gove has warned that the government must do more to seize homes owned by Vladimir Putin’s allies, as ministers look to fast-tracked plans to publicly reveal overseas owners of British land and property.

The housing secretary told a cabinet meeting on Thursday that the government should seize all properties in London that are owned by Kremlin-linked oligarchs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gove said more action was needed to clamp down on Russian dirty money being used to buy property in London, as part of a wider clampdown on dirty money in the capital.

In 2016, Westminster’s Home Affairs Select Committee found the London property market was one of the key outlets used to launder illicit money in the UK by foreign actors.

Research by anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International suggests that more than £1bn has been spent since 2016 on the London property market by Russian oligarchs and organised crime bosses.

The Sunday Times reports that Gove wants to introduce legislation, which would allow the government to strip property from Russian oligarchs targeted by sanctions.

This legislation could be brought to parliament as early as this week.

The government is bringing forward its Economic Crime Bill next week, which will seek to target overseas money laundering in London.

A government source told the Telegraph: “It is time to shut down the racket of illicit money in British property. We are sending a strong signal that the UK’s property market is not open to corrupt individuals and regimes laundering their money.”


Data shows rise in Russian-based UK property owners



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