Gove plot to tear up UK housing law and make it easier to seize Russian oligarch homes

Hinds says he's not scared to impose sanctions on Russian Oligarchs

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The Levelling Up Secretary would not offer the Russian millionaires and billionaires any compensation in return, the Financial Times reports. In the plans being sketched out by the cabinet minister, Ukrainian refugees displaced by the Russian invasion could find shelter in the opulent homes of the Russian super-rich, government insiders have claimed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is understood to back the idea, having attracted criticism from the Labour Party on Wednesday for not going far enough with sanctions against Putin’s associates or scrutinising Russian donations to the Conservative Party.

The plans would apply to nine Russian oligarchs who are under UK sanctions.

Among this number would be Kirill Shamalov – Putin’s ex-son-in-law.

One adviser working on the plans said “freezing assets is not enough”, and government officials were “looking at seizing the land and property of sanctioned individuals”.

Another source added that Whitehall was working towards understanding what mechanisms would be required to “swiftly acquire specific land and property in the UK owned by a sanctioned person, without the need to pay them compensation”.

A separate insider discussed how ministers were debating housing Ukrainian refugees, fleeing their country as a result of the war.

The plans are still in their formative stages, and are likely to need parliamentary approval.

This comes as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss revealed an extended “hit list” of Russian oligarchs linked to Vladimir Putin.

She warned those tied to the Russian dictator: “We will come after you.”

On Tuesday, Ms Truss announced the UK would also sanction Belarusian individuals and organisations linked to the Russian invasion.

She said: “We are inflicting economic pain on Putin and those closest to him. We will not rest until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is restored.

“The Lukashenko regime actively aids and abets Russia’s illegal invasion and will be made to feel the economic consequences for its support for Putin.

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“There will be nowhere to hide. Nothing – and no one – is off the table.”

On Thursday, the London Stock Exchange ceased trading with 27 companies linked to Russia.

Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, is on the list of blocked companies.

The bank pulled out of almost all European markets earlier this week, adding in a statement that the “group’s subsidiary banks have faced abnormal cash outflows and threats to the safety of its employees and branches”.

The London Stock Exchange halted trading “in light of market conditions, and in order to maintain orderly markets” following comparable moves from the US and Germany.

The Moscow Stock Exchange remains closed, as it has done since Monday.

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