LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will give law enforcement agencies the power to force suspected criminals to explain the source of their wealth under new legislation published on Thursday.
The government said the Criminal Finances Bill, which is subject to parliament’s approval, would introduce “unexplained wealth orders”, under which those who are not able to say where their wealth came from will face having their assets seized.
The bill will also introduce a new criminal offence for companies who fail to prevent tax evasion, and will allow the sharing of information, such as data on financial transactions, between regulated bodies to combat money-laundering.
“This legislation will ensure the UK is taking a world-leading role in cracking down on corruption and send a clear message to criminals – we will take your liberty and your money,” security minister Ben Wallace said in a statement.
The government said the legislation would also increase the range of assets which can be seized if they are suspected of being proceeds of crime, including money stored in bank accounts, precious metals, jewels and works of art.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison