The Telegraph 2024-03-25 16:00:39

Live UK unveils sanctions after MPs targeted by China – watch live

Britain has sanctioned two individuals and a company linked to a Chinese state-affiliated group responsible for targeting MPs, Oliver Dowden has announced.

The Deputy Prime Minister said they were responsible for two malicious cyber campaigns targeting democratic institutions and parliamentarians.

He said the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – had concluded that the Electoral Commission was highly likely compromised by a China state-affiliated cyber entity between 2021 and 2022.

The NCSC said it is almost certain that a China state-affiliated group called APT31 conducted reconnaissance activity against UK parliamentarians during a separate campaign in 2021. 

The majority of those targeted were prominent in calling out the malign activity of China. 

The cyber campaign against the parliamentary email accounts of members across both Houses of Parliament was identified and successfully mitigated by Parliament’s security department before any accounts could be compromised.

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Trump’s bank accounts could be frozen as $454m New York bond deadline looms

Donald Trump could have his bank accounts frozen and his properties seized if he fails to produce a $454 million (£357 million) bond by the end of Monday.

The payment deadline was set by New York prosecutors after Judge Arthur Engoron last month ruled that Mr Trump’s company fraudulently inflated his net worth to obtain favourable loans from banks and insurers.

Letitia James, the New York attorney general, will have the power to freeze several bank accounts and begin the process of seizing some of his properties, if no bond is forthcoming.

Under New York law, Ms James could have enforced the $454 million judgment once it became final last month but she allowed Mr Trump a 30-day grace period that expires on Monday.

If Mr Trump is still unable to produce the bond, Ms James could immediately send so-called restraining notices to his banks and brokerage firms, effectively freezing his accounts. She could then ask a court to allow her department to access the money in those accounts.

Sources have told the New York Times that Ms James is not expected to take “any aggressive action” on Monday regardless of the payment deadline.

To satisfy the court, Mr Trump must find a company willing, for a fee, to post the $454 million bond on his behalf. That would involve the provider agreeing to cover the cost of the full payment if Mr Trump loses a pending appeal and fails to pay.

Securing bond is ‘practical impossibility’

A bond of such a large amount would almost certainly require Mr Trump to pledge more than $550 million in collateral to the provider.

According to the New York Times, his lawyers have been spurned by more than 30 bond companies and recently called their chances of securing a bond a “practical impossibility”.

Mr Trump’s legal team is still holding out hope that an appeals court will pause the judgment or direct the court to accept a smaller bond of $100 million.

Before initiating the seizing of assets, Ms James might wait for a decision on that appeal, expected later this week or next week.

Ms James has already posted the judgment against Mr Trump in the New York county of Westchester, a preliminary step towards potentially staking a claim to his golf property there.

Yet any effort to seize property would almost certainly result in a lengthy court fight given the likelihood of Mr Trump’s legal team seeking to delay the process.

Even if Ms James forced the sale of one of his properties, the state would collect only the sum that remained after any mortgage was paid off.

Mr Trump’s lawyers have argued the $454 million penalty is “grossly disproportionate and unconstitutional”.

The presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election has denied all wrongdoing and has accused Ms James and Judge Engoron, both Democrats, of being part of a political witch hunt against him.

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