By Andrew Griffiths 

When many people think of harmful activity by a foreign power against the UK, their minds are naturally drawn to the abhorrent use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury. We have always been clear in our assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian state is responsible.

This outrageous attempt to kill the Skripals on British streets was a highly visible example of harm directed against our country. But every year, largely unseen, foreign actors including from Russia are undermining our economy by abusing our business entities to launder dirty money through the UK.

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This Government will always take strong action to protect its citizens and our interests. Following the events in Salisbury, it set out one of the toughest package of measures against another state in three decades. From strengthening our powers to impose sanctions in response to the violation of human rights to considering new counter-espionage powers to harden the UK’s defences against hostile state activity: it is deploying the full spectrum of our National Security capabilities to counter the threats of hostile activity. And will do so wherever it may come from.

The UK is admired around the world as a leading light in the global fight against money laundering. And thanks to this Government we now have robust powers to identify and recover criminal funds from those seeking to hide, use or move them in the UK. We can also force individuals to explain the source of their wealth if authorities deem it to be suspicious.

Today we will enhance that reputation further and create an even more hostile environment for those eyeing up UK shores as a place to move their illicit funds by setting out plans to prevent the abuse of the financial instrument known as Scottish Limited Partnerships.

Scottish Limited Partnerships are used by thousands of legitimate British businesses - from pension schemes to owning farm land in Scotland - to invest more than £30 billion in the UK a year.

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We have seen mounting evidence that in their current form they are vulnerable to abuse. Last year it emerged more than 100 Scottish Limited Partnerships were used to launder up to $80bn in the “global laundromat”, a complex and corrupt money laundering scheme that allowed officials to move money out of Russia and around the world.

The Herald itself has continued to shine a spotlight on this issue, reporting their use in alleged complex global money laundering schemes from Brazilian politicians to Russian oligarchs, and in the process shown the value of investigatory reporting.

Last year, we introduced laws requiring Scottish Limited Partnerships to report their beneficial owner which saw an 80% reduction in the number registered. But we know more needs to be done to ensure they continue to be used as a vehicle for legitimate investment in the UK.

The Prime Minister has given serious thought to this matter herself and earlier this week met with the Scottish National Party to discuss the importance of tightening regulations around Scottish Limited Partnerships.

Today we will unveil a package of reforms to subject Scottish Limited Partnerships to more stringent anti-money laundering checks and ensure they are more transparent.

Our proposals will require Scottish Limited Partnerships to have a real UK connection, including ensuring they do business or maintain a service address in the UK.

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There will be new anti-money laundering checks for frontmen such as registering new Scottish Limited Partnerships through a company formation agent.

We will also give Companies House new powers to remove limited partnerships from the company register if they are dissolved or are no longer operating.

These reforms form part of our modern Industrial Strategy to protect and enhance our business environment, ensuring Scotland and other parts of the UK continue to be known internationally as great places to work, invest and do business. I would like to commend the Herald for its dogged pursuit of this issue in its coverage.