The United Kingdom has announced its first round of sanctions under its new global anti-corruption regime, freezing assets and imposing restrictions on 14 individuals from Russia, as well as eight others from different parts of the world.
The 14 Russians were hit with sanctions for their involvement in corruption uncovered by the late Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and whistle-blower who helped reveal the theft of nearly $230 million from Russia's government through fraudulent tax refunds.
The targeted Russian nationals' assets in the United Kingdom have been frozen and they are barred from visiting the United Kingdom, according to the measures.
"As with our Global Human Rights sanctions approach, the anti-corruption sanctions are not intended to target whole countries or whole peoples, but rather to get the individuals who are responsible, and should be held responsible, for graft and the cronies who support or benefit from their corrupt acts," British Foreign Secretary Dominik Raab said in announcing the sanctions..
The sanctioned Russian citizens include Dmitry Klyuyev, identified as the owner of Universal Savings Bank in Russia.
The United Kingdom's new Magnitsky act, which is similar to a law enacted in the United States, is named after the Russian lawyer who was arrested and died in prison in Moscow in 2009 after accusing Russian officials of the massive tax fraud.
In the measures announced on April 26, Britain also targeted Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, Indian-born brothers at the center of a South African corruption scandal that was one of the reasons for Jacob Zuma's resignation in February 2018.
Sanctions were also imposed on three people accused of corruption in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, including facilitating bribes to support a major drug-trafficking cartel.
Raab told British lawmakers that the sanctions would prevent the country from being used as "a haven for dirty money."
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the British sanctions, saying they strengthened efforts to counter corruption globally.