Britain imposed sanctions on 25 Russians and 20 Saudis on Monday as part of post-Brexit measures foreign minister Dominic Raab said were aimed at stopping the laundering of “blood money”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to create a new independent position for Britain in foreign and economic relations since leaving the European Union in January and this was the first time London could unilaterally enforce freezes on assets and visa bans.
Raab has called for strong sanctions and put out first names in parliament, including Russian nationals Britain said they were involved in the mistreatment and death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and Saudis who claimed to be involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist. Russia has said that it would respond to the new measures. The media office of the Saudi government and the foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Saud al-Qahtani, a former royal advisor to the Saudis, and Ahmed al-Asiri, a former deputy chief of intelligence, also had charges dropped by a Saudi court against them. In December, eleven suspects were brought to court for the assassination, with five being sentenced to death. Magnitsky ‘s client Bill Browder, who led a movement to expose corruption and prosecute Russian officials whom he blamed for the death of the prosecutor, welcomed the change as “a major milestone in our Sergei Magnitsky justice movement.”