EU to blacklist corrupt individuals worldwide, freeze their assets

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The European Union has unveiled several proposals aimed at blacklisting corrupt individuals around the world.

The European Commission’s proposals released on Wednesday, said it will dish out stiff punishments on individuals and entities who committed “serious acts of corruption,” which also see their assets frozen in the EU and be banned from the bloc.

The plans which are similar to the US Magnitsky act, a law under which Washington punishes foreign government officials implicated in corruption or human rights abuses, will however, need to be approved by the EU’s 27 member-states.

The act is named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison in pre-trial detention in 2009 amid allegations of mistreatment.

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According to the EU, the new mechanism would allow the body to impose sanctions “when acts of corruption seriously affect or risk affecting the objectives of the (EU’s) common foreign and security policy,” the commission said in a statement.

“We are sending a clear message: the EU is not open for business to those who engage in corruption, wherever that occurs,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Serious acts of corruption included in the commission’s definition are bribery of a public official, and embezzlement of public funds, especially in a country that is deemed to be non-cooperative in tax matters or failing to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.

“Insidious acts of corruption can also threaten peace and international security, enabling terrorism, organised crime and other crimes. So that’s why we have to enlarge our scope and tackle corruption worldwide,” Borrell said.

The EU already implemented a mechanism in late 2020 that sanctions individuals held responsible for “serious violations of human rights” around the world.

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