New legislation aimed at cracking down on ‘dirty money’ in the UK has been backed by the Scottish Government.
The Economic Crime Bill has been introduced by the UK Government in a bid to help strengthen the ability to counter illicit financial activity from Russia.
It will see the creation of a register of overseas ownership of UK land and property, an overhaul of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) and will make it easier to prosecute anyone involved in seeking to avoid sanctions.
The Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday.
A legislative consent memorandum has been by the Scottish Government, with the legislation expected to be considered by MSPs at Holyrood later this week.
Kate Forbes, Scotland’s finance secretary, expressed the Government’s support for the Bill.
But, she outlined the need for Holyrood to be given the chance to consider its provisions.
It comes after Scottish businesses were told to cut ties with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
“The Scottish Government is fully supportive of any measures which target the wealth and assets of the Russian regime and its backers, but it is important that the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to consider its provisions,” said Forbes.
“An open letter has been sent to the Scottish business community, urging it to take economic action by severing links to Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine.
“Greater transparency is critical to identifying links with Putin’s regime. However it is vital that suitable resources are put into enforcement of the measures in this Bill and we urge the UK Government to ensure this is provided.”