The smell of Russian money
Over the past month, control over wealthy Russians assets abroad has become extremely tightened. Suddenly, once friendly European countries began to show excessive interest in the origin of the Russian capital.

The United Kingdom. It would seem like one of the most reliable islands. But nowadays Britain have not extended the British visa to the owner of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich. Russians lived in the UK have faded. It seemed, if not prolonged, then to him in the last turn. It turned out first.

Abramovich has withdrawn his application for a British visa. His new Israeli passport allows him to legally stay in the UK for six months. The construction of the new stadium Chelsea Roman has suspended.

It should be noted that Abramovich was not on any sanctions lists, however, he has become an undesirable person in the UK.

The Unexplained Wealth Orders Act (UWO), an arrest warrant for the property of unknown origin, was adopted in 2018 and allows law enforcement agencies to arrest suspicious assets (over 50,000 pounds) of unknown origin and retain them until the owners report the source of the money. Britain has promised to check the purity of all Russian money, and today more than 120 Russians are on the lists.

Commercial banks in Cyprus have been required by the Central Bank of Cyprus to close offshore companies accounts, until to clarify the real beneficiary, with the provision of audited reporting for the last year, the disclosure of sources of income. The bank also may require additional information, including the address of the real residence, statements of accounts in other banks, information on payments, as well as information on the actual financial and economic activities of the company etc. The requirements for individuals are also tightened, some banks have already required the Russian clients to close the account, or transfer money to the RCB bank, of which the Russian VTB is a shareholder.

Representatives of the US Treasury (OFAC unit), after a visit to the country, apparently, have convinced the Cypriot authorities to reconsider their attitude to Russian capital and offshore schemes. After that, the authorities of the island have begun to get rid of Russian money.

Latvia.In early spring, Latvian banks began to get rid of wealthy Russian clients. Latvian banks actively participated in the withdrawal of money from Russia according to OCCRP (an international organization of journalistic investigations). Over the last 3 years, more than 18 billion dollars have been withdrawn. Latvia has been already preparing a law that simplifies the procedure of revoking bank license if there are suspicions of illegal operations.

We can only guess what the next country will tighten control over the purity of money, but the trend is already set. In general, the times of classic offshore schemes are already in the past. Today it is more difficult to find a new tax haven for Russian money if only to move to Russia (Russky Island).

Let's discuss today's methods of optimization in the next article.

Samvel Airapetyan