Britain has placed sanctions on five people for serious corruption, including the former governor of Nineveh province in Iraq.
In a statement, the government said it had worked with Iraqi authorities to impose penalties on Nawfal Hammadi Al Sultan, who had hampered efforts to rebuild Mosul after the devastation wrought by ISIS.
The UK hinted at more sanctions in the pipeline, saying it was going after those who use Britain as a safe haven under the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime.
Al Sultan diverted public funds intended for reconstruction efforts and to provide support for civilians, and improperly awarded contracts and other state property, the UK Foreign Office said.
“Al Sultan is currently serving a combined five-year prison sentence in Iraq for corruption offences, including wasting five billion Iraqi dinars [$3.4 million] through fictitious public works,” it added.
The ex-governor was arrested on corruption charges after at least 90 people were killed in a ferry accident in the provincial capital Mosul in 2019.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the new sanctions focus on cases of serious corruption in Iraq, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea and Venezuela that have deprived developing countries of vital resources.
“The action we have taken today targets individuals who have lined their own pockets at the expense of their citizens,” Mr Raab said.
“The UK is committed to fighting the blight of corruption and holding those responsible for its corrosive effect to account. Corruption drains the wealth of poorer nations, keeps their people trapped in poverty and poisons the well of democracy.”
Michael Jackson's glove
Teodoro Obiang Mangue, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president, was sanctioned for misappropriating millions of pounds which he spent on luxury mansions and a £200,000 glove that Michael Jackson wore during his Bad tour.
Mr Obiang, the country’s vice president, had participated in “corrupt contracting arrangements and soliciting bribes to fund a lavish lifestyle inconsistent with his official salary as a government minister,” the UK said.
It added he had bought a £73 million mansion in Paris, a £28 million private jet, a luxury yacht and dozens of luxury vehicles, including Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins.
Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei was sanctioned for profiting from misappropriation of property when his company, Sakunda Holdings, redeemed Government of Zimbabwe Treasury Bills at up to 10 times their official value.
His actions accelerated the deflation of Zimbabwe's currency, increasing the price of essentials, such as food, for Zimbabwean citizens, the UK said.
In Venezuela, Alex Nain Saab Moran and Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas exploited two public programmes which were set up to supply poor Venezuelans with cheap food and housing.
They benefited from improperly awarded contracts, where promised goods were delivered at highly inflated prices.
The UK said their actions caused further suffering to poverty-stricken Venezuelans for their own private enrichment.
The government will impose asset freezes and travel bans so that those sanctioned will no longer be able to channel their money through UK banks or enter the country.