Politicians, public figures and criminals suspected of buying property with corrupt money will be forced to explain their wealth or face having their assets seized, under new legislation that has come into force in Britain this month.
The so-called Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) have been welcomed by campaigners, who say the British capital is at the center of a global web of embezzled money.
英国的不可解释财富令（Unexplained Wealth Orders）受到活动人士的欢迎。他们说，英国首都伦敦位于赃款全球网的中心。
The anti-corruption organization Transparency International has identified five properties they say British authorities could immediately begin investigating using Unexplained Wealth Orders. Among them are two apartments overlooking the River Thames that are worth about $15 million. The Russian anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician Alexey Navalny alleges the apartments are owned by the First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Shuvalov, whose self-declared annual salary is $157,000.
Britain’s National Crime Agency says that in excess of $100 billion of corrupt money flows through London each year – much of its public money stolen from government budgets.
Campaigners cite the case of an $18 million house in London’s Mayfair district, which until last year was owned by Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Investigators believe he embezzled more than $300 million of state funds. He sold the house before it could be seized by authorities – and claims his wealth comes from rich Arab backers.
Those looking to hide their wealth often use a complex network of offshore holding companies to conceal their identity.