Dozens of Russian Billionaire oligarchs are being sanctioned as part of the overall response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine.This is a wonderful development in terms of the world's response to dealing with too-powerful, dangerous billionaires. I've been saying for more than ten years that the world must make it illegal to become or be a billionaire. That's a huge goal and these oligarch sanctions are cracks in the wall that has been protecting the ultra-rich-- cracks that show that much more can and will be done.
Forbes reports that:
"The European Union announced sanctions against 26 additional individuals Monday, including Russian billionaire oligarchs Mikhail Fridman, Alisher Usmanov, Alexey Mordashov, Gennady Timchenko and Alexander Ponomarenko, marking the latest measure from the West to cripple Russia economically for its invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions include an asset freeze and travel ban on the named individuals, adding to the hundreds of others sanctioned by the EU last week.
Sanctions are being announced by the US, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other entities. The number of sanctioned oligarchs is growing. Perhaps most important is the support these sanctions are receiving from the mainstream media. Talking about towing yachts is something that MSNBC allows Elizabeth Warren to enjoy talking about. Warren describes how leaders and governments around the world say "We're going to shut down these oligarchs." There is no way this is going to end up just applying to Russian Oligarch. The wall is cracked. The cat is out of the bag. The jar has been opened, and it is only a matter of time before the backlash against billionaires will become massive and unstoppable.
The Guardian described some of the systematic ways the UK is addressing the abuses and dangers of billionaires.
New anti-corruption measures to help track down Russian assets in London and confiscate "dirty money" are to be fast-tracked by the government.
Ministers plan to bolster unexplained wealth orders, which can be used to seize illicit assets. The orders have had limited success to date after legal challenges.
The government will also shortly announce its proposed reforms of the Economic Crime Bill, which will include a register of overseas property ownership and reforms to Companies House. Labour has criticised the government after years of delays in implementing the reforms.
Boris Johnson said last week that the government would set up a "kleptocracy cell" in the National Crime Agency to target sanctions evasion and Russian assets hidden in the UK. He said it would mean London oligarchs would have "nowhere to hide".
This Guardian report makes it crystal clear that there are concrete ways to address the excessive wealth and power of billionaires and the abuses they routinely engage in. And it also shows that there is strong support for such policy developments when Government takes such actions and initiates such policies.
And there is no turning back. The wall protecting billionaires has been irrevocably cracked open, gates swinging wide, as we see in the UK, and it is time for us to use this moment to widen the cracks and turn them into major highways of policy action, beginning the road to eliminating the plague of billionaires humanity has endured since, perhaps the beginning of civilization.
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