- Sputnik International, 1920, 13.01.2022
Russia-NATO Row on European Security
Russia proposed draft agreements on security guarantees for NATO and the US in late 2021 requesting the alliance not to expand eastward as Moscow considers such a move a threat to its national security. NATO insists it will not allow its "Open Door" policy to be slammed shut.

UK Ex-Minister Says Foreign Property Register Revived as 'We All Hate the Russians Now'

© REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY / FILE PHOTO: Views of the City of London Financial DistrictFILE PHOTO: Views of the City of London Financial District
FILE PHOTO: Views of the City of London Financial District - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
With anti-Russian rhetoric reaching fever-pitch, opposition parties have demanded the government create a register of overseas property ownership in the UK — in the hope of finding an elusive link between the ruling Conservatives and Muscovite 'Oligarchs'.
A peer and former justice minister has said his scheme for a register of foreign-owned property in the UK have gained new life as Russophobia is ratchetted up in the West.
Lord Faulks, a barrister and former junior justice minister under former pro-EU Conservative prime minister David Cameron from 2013 to 2016, ventured that "the climate is now changing because we all hate the Russians now."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened on Tuesday to take steps to stop Russian companies raising finance in the City of London if Russia invades Ukraine as Western governments claim it is planning to.
Measures could include compiling a list of Russian-owned assets in the UK, a move the opposition Labour Party has demanded in the hope of finding evidence of Russian funding for the ruling Tories.
"What we're doing is targeting particular Russian banks, Russian companies, and making sure that we take steps, or take even more steps, to unpeel the facade of Russian property holdings whether in this city or elsewhere" and "unpeel the facade of Russian ownership of companies," Johnson said in a televised interview.
"And also take steps to stop Russian companies from raising capital on London financial markets," he added. "So that is a very, very tough package."
As a member of the House of Lords, Faulks proposed amendments to the Criminal Finances Act of 2017 and the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 when they were passing through Parliament under Cameron's successor Theresa May.
But he told liberal daily newspaper The Guardian that he dropped the changes after being invited by Downing Street to a meeting with civil servants from four departments including the Foreign and Home Offices, who he claimed assured him the government had the issue "in hand".
"I was obviously misled because nothing has subsequently happened. I can only think a deluded desire to protect the City of London has led to all these delays," Faulks speculated.
"Quite frankly, I was leant on. I was leant on by No 10 Downing Street and summoned to a meeting of officials from all sorts of different departments, who told me it was very unfortunate that I was going to do this because the matter was in hand."
Faulks also derided foreign businesspeople investing in the UK.
"It is a real irony that our reputation for protecting the rule of law is one of the things that attracts people who have very little regard for the rule of law themselves and come from countries which ignore it almost altogether," he said.
Opponents of Johnson's Britain's exit from the European Union have long tried to claim Russian oligarchs funded the successful Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum — an echo of US Democrats' debunked 'Russiagate' conspiracy theories.
Russian soldiers wearing Red Army World War II uniforms  take part in the military parade on the Red Square in Moscow (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
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Gulf Oil and Channel Tax Havens

In fact some of the biggest foreign property owners hail from Britain's allies, trading partners or the remnants of its empire.
Former US President Donald Trump owns two golf resorts in Scotland, his mother's native land, along with one in the Republic of Ireland.
But the value of those estates is dwarfed by the £140 billion of Persian Gulf monarchy oil money reportedly invested in the UK. Those portfolios belong to the sovereign wealth funds of the five Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar — along with neighbouring Oman.
The number of individual properties — many of them being ordinary homes rented to tenants — owned by overseas-resident individuals rose almost three-fold from 88,000 in 2010 to nearly 250,000 in 2021. That accounted for nearly one per cent of all property titles in the UK.
Three-quarters of the owners were residents of either the British Crown dependencies and overseas territories — chiefly the tax havens of Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands — other English-speaking countries, south-east Asia and the Middle East.
That was according to the Centre for Public Data (CPD), which obtained the figures from the Land Registry via a Freedom of Information request.
But despite the availability of the data, CPD director Anna Powell-Smith urged the government to bring forward a draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill to increase "transparency" and help fight tax-dodging and the impact of foreign ownership on the affordability of housing.
Ironically, Faulks was appointed a justice of the Astana International Financial Centre in Russian ally Kazakhstan in 2018.
Since January 2020 he has also been chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation — which has so far failed to censure British newspapers for their scaremongering claims of an impending Russian invasion of Ukraine.
© Murad Gazdiev/TwitterRT reporter Murad Gazdiev criticises British tabloid newspaper The Sun for scaremongering claims Russia is about to invade the Ukraine, February 15 2022.
RT reporter Murad Gazdiev criticises British tabloid newspaper The Sun for scaremongering claims Russia is about to invade the Ukraine, February 15 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.02.2022
RT reporter Murad Gazdiev criticises British tabloid newspaper The Sun for scaremongering claims Russia is about to invade the Ukraine, February 15 2022.
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