Search icon


24th Feb 2022

Seize London properties from Putin allies, Sadiq Khan demands

Ava Evans

The Mayor of London wants more council houses and less oligarchs

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has set out plans to oust oligarchs from London’s housing market.

In a radical new set of measures, Khan has proposed seizing properties, increasing the “empty homes tax” and ramping up capital gains, in a bid to rid London of oligarch exploitation.

Anti-corruption charity Transparency International estimate an astonishing £1.1 billion worth of London property is owned by Russians accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin.

The new taxes proposed by Khan could raise up to £370m a year, which would be invested in building council and affordable homes for Londoners.

The policies will only apply to property owners who are resident overseas and not individuals who move to London and make the capital their home.

On Thursday, Boris Johnson hit Russia with what he described as the “largest set of sanctions ever imposed anywhere by the UK government” – targeting individuals including President Vladimir Putin’s former son-in-law.

Downing Street confirmed a range of further oligarchs who are particularly close to the Kremlin will be sanctioned, but critics have said many of these do not own significant assets in the UK.

A spokesperson for Mayor of London said that while they supported the package, the measures do not go far enough – where it’s thought the UK’s light-touch property regulations has meant London has become a magnet for foreign millionaires and billionaires wishing to hide their assets.

Earlier this week, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the “creeping tendrils of the Kremlin” had been allowed to wrap themselves around the UK and turn London into a global money laundering capital.

Writing in the Observer Starmer said that the UK needed to get “our own house in order”, before it sanctioned Russia.

The new plans proposed by Mayor of London would aim to root out individuals thought to be laundering cash through the capital.

Khan said: “For far too long ministers have turned a blind eye to the use of our capital’s homes as a safe harbour for oligarchs to park their cash, which is having a negative impact on both our international reputation and our local housing market.

“Now is the time to act.   

 “London will always be open to foreign investment and the millions of people from around the world who choose to make our city home.

“But we must take proactive measures to insist on a greater contribution from overseas buyers, clamp down on those who look to exploit our openness, and use the money to invest in social and other low-cost homes for Londoners.”

Related Links