Transparency Petition Urges Leaders to Stop Russia’s Kleptocrats

Photo: Transparency International
Photo: Transparency International

Transparency International urges the countries in the West to take immediate action to find and freeze the illegally earned assets of Putin’s cronies. 

Global anti-corruption organization Transparency International suggests that after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there should not be any safe haven for Russia’s super-rich in the West. It has launched a public petition which states that Russian elites and their accomplices in the West must face consequences for the violent assault on Ukraine and the suffering they have brought upon its people. 

To make them pay, according to the petition, it’s critical to go after the enormous wealth they have accumulated through corruption. Addressed to the leaders of Western nations, the petition argues that some countries are closing their doors to the most notorious Russian kleptocrats, but this is not enough.

“You need to go after the money – money you should never have welcomed in the first place. You need to ensure that billions in dirty dollars, pounds and euros do not fund the war machine and act decisively to deter Kremlin enablers in your countries,” said Transparency International in its petition.

It urges the countries in the West to take immediate action to find and freeze the illegally earned assets of Putin’s cronies. “These yachts, luxury properties and other assets are deliberately hidden behind anonymous companies across different countries and continents. Kleptocrats are already conspiring with rogue actors within your borders to move their loot elsewhere, so they can emerge from your own targeted sanctions unscathed,” said Transparency International. 

It continues: You pride yourselves on democracy, law and order. And yet, for more than two decades, your banks, real estate agents and other go-betweens have promoted secrecy, broken all rules and lobbied hard to block progressive reforms. This was all to keep the dirty money – often acquired through corruption and violence – flowing from Russia. By doing so, they lined their own pockets at the expense of collective peace.

Transparency International says that in the wake of this unjustified and brutal military aggression, democracies around the world are finally waking up to the dangers of acting as safe havens for Russia’s super-rich.

To track down, freeze and seize kleptocrats’ money and properties, it asks the leaders of Western nations to:

break through the barriers to international cooperation that have rendered cross-border accountability processes slow and ineffective

rally other countries to join you – especially those that are known tax havens

oblige those with valuable information – such as bankers, real estate agents, brokers and wealth managers who service kleptocrats in your countries – to come forward

The petition – which is available on website – states that it is not too late to pass powerful anti-corruption and anti-money laundering reforms which have been shelved for years. 

Radical transparency measures will help the authorities to enforce actions that they have laid out, so they can hold Putin and his cronies to account. “Kleptocrats should have nowhere to hide. Now is the time for the international community to step up its efforts and meaningfully counter this scourge,” said Transparency International.

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Rakesh Raman