Russian rouble crashes due to sanctions as UK cracks down on oligarchs' 'dirty money'

28 February 2022, 08:54 | Updated: 28 February 2022, 10:15

The rouble has crashed following financial sanctions from the West.
The rouble has crashed following financial sanctions from the West. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Russian rouble has crashed after the West introduced crippling sanctions against Putin, with the UK also cracking down on the so-called "dirty money" of billionaire oligarchs.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The value of Russia's currency was down around 30 per cent against the US dollar at one point, as the country's invasion into Ukraine continues to increase tensions across the world.

It was trading at a record low of 105.27 per dollar (approx. £79) - down from about 84 per dollar (£63) late on Friday.

However, in a bid to fight back against the plummeting rouble, Russia's central bank sharply raised its key interest rate from 9.5 per cent to 20 per cent on Monday.

It came as Putin put nuclear deterrent forces on alert - apparently as a response to the sanctions in place.

Russia's banks were cut off from an international transaction system as well as other financial institutions being hit.

The US, European Union and UK all agreed to block selected Russian banks from the Swift system, which moves money around thousands of banks and other financial institutions worldwide.

Japan joined the move over the weekend, with restrictions on the Russian central bank targeting its access to more than $600bn (£450bn) in reserves which the Kremlin has at its disposal. 

Read more: Blasts heard in Kyiv and Kharkiv as Ukraine warns next 24 hours are 'crucial'

Read more: BP to offload 19.75% stake in Russian oil firm Rosneft after Putin's 'act of aggression'

It follows the UK Government's decision to fast-track its plans to tackle "dirty money", amid Russia's ongoing invasion in Ukraine.

Ministers will table the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, which will establish a new register of overseas entities.

The move is intended to expose foreign oligarchs who launder their money through the UK's property market.

It will mean foreign owners of properties in the UK will need to declare their true identity, ensuring criminals cannot hide behind secretive webs of shell companies.

Those that fail to comply will have restrictions placed on selling the property, while those who are found to have broken the rules will face up to five years in prison.

Boris Johnson said: "There is no place for dirty money in the UK. We are going faster and harder to tear back the facade that those supporting Putin's campaign of destruction have been hiding behind for so long.

"Those backing Putin have been put on notice: there will be nowhere to hide your ill-gotten gains."

In a further move, the Government is also set to publish a detailed white paper ahead of a second Economic Crime Bill, setting out a reform of Companies House.

It will mean anyone setting up, running, owning or controlling a company in the UK will need to verify their identity before moving forward.

Officials will also be given the power to challenge information that appears dubious, and will be empowered to inform security agencies of potential wrongdoing.

It will include measures intended to prevent company agents from overseas creating companies in the UK on behalf of foreign criminals or secretive oligarchs.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

United States Ukraine Weapons Explainer

US lawmakers approve multibillion-dollar aid package for Ukraine and Israel

Congress TikTok

US lawmakers pass legislation to ban TikTok within a year

Mideast Tensions Satellite

Iranian attack damaged taxiway at Israeli air base, satellite image shows

China Kite Festival Photo Gallery

In Pictures: Colourful creations fill sky at Chinese kite festival

People pass by a damaged electric pole caused by flooding due to heavy rains in Pakistan

Pakistani province issues flood alert and warns of heavy loss of life

Russian rockets are launched against Ukraine from Russia’s Belgorod region

Ukrainian drones targeting Russian power stations shot down, says Moscow

Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson

US House of Representatives on brink of approving aid for Ukraine and Israel

Nigeria Chess Education

Nigerian chess champion plays game for 60 hours in new global record bid

Nigeria Chess Education

Nigerian chess champion plays game for 60 hours in new global record bid

Palestinian medics carry a child hurt in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip to the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah refugee camp

Six children among nine Palestinians killed by Israeli air strike in Rafah

Bystanders react after witnessing the man lighting himself on fire

Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

APTOPIX Indonesia Volcano

More than 2,100 people evacuated as Indonesian volcano spews clouds of ash

Iranian officials say the attacks, in the central province of Isfahan, were caused by small exploding drones

Israeli airstrike on Iran downplayed as tensions ease between Tel Aviv and Tehran

Azzarello was pictured outside the courthouse a day earlier with a conspiracy sign

'Conspiracy theorist' who set himself on fire outside Donald Trump's hush money trial has died, police confirm

Venezuela Ecuador Mexico

Venezuela’s main opposition bloc agrees on candidate to challenge Maduro

Azzarello was pictured outside the courthouse a day earlier with a conspiracy sign

'Researcher', 37, set himself on fire outside Donald Trump's hush money trial in shocking 'political protest'