Britain says new powers to seize suspicious assets will help curb London's status as a haven for ill-gotten gains.

A measure called unexplained wealth orders, which came into effect this week, allows authorities to seize assets over 50,000 pounds ($70,000) until owners account for how they were acquired.

Security Minister Ben Wallace told Saturday's Times of London that the government was sending criminals a message that "we will come for you, for your assets and we will make the environment that you live in difficult."

Wallace says the TV drama series "McMafia," which centers on Russian criminals funneling money through London's financial district, is "very close to the truth."

The government estimates 90 billion pounds in illegal cash is laundered in Britain every year.