On 9 October 2020, HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published its latest Annual Review for the 2019-20 financial year. The publication marks the third report which OFSI have published and provides an overview of the work undertaken by OFSI in the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to March 2020). It also looks ahead to sanctions implementation in the future with a particular focus, this year, on how sanctions will be enforced at the end of the Brexit transition period. Points which may be of particular interest to readers are set out below. Continue reading
On 30 July 2020, the European Council announced that asset freezing sanctions were to be imposed on six Chinese and Russian individuals and three entities (based in China, Russia and North Korea) responsible for, or involved in, various cyberattacks, including the attempted cyberattack against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and those publicly known as “WannaCry”, “NotPetya” and “Operation Cloud Hopper”. Continue reading
On 6 July 2020, the United Kingdom introduced unilateral sanctions against 49 individuals and entities from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea accused of involvement in several high profile human rights violations and abuses.The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (the “Sanctions Regulations”), made pursuant to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 ( “SAMLA”), are specifically tailored to address human rights abuses and mark the first time that the UK has imposed sanctions for human rights violations and abuses independently of either the United Nations or the European Union (“EU”) sanctions regimes. Continue reading
On 31 March 2020, HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) announced the imposition of a monetary penalty on Standard Chartered Bank (“SCB”). This represents OFSI’s fourth use of its power to impose a monetary penalty in respect of suspected breaches of UK financial sanctions restrictions.
Welcome to the December 2019 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters.
Authors: Daniel Hudson, Partner, London and Daniel Hyde, Associate (Australia), London
On 25 February 2019, the UK Government’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) published a notification of its first imposition of a monetary penalty under new powers afforded to it under the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (“the Act”). The £5,000 penalty was imposed on Raphaels Bank for dealing, without a licence, with funds belonging to a designated person in breach of EU financial sanctions in relation to Egypt. The penalty amount represents a 50 per cent reduction of the baseline penalty amount initially assessed by OFSI as a result of Raphaels Bank’s voluntary disclosure of the breach and subsequent cooperation.
The notification is brief, seemingly because OFSI is making ongoing enquiries in connection with other aspects of the breach unconnected with Raphaels Bank. However, it is apparent that OFSI determined the penalty amount in accordance with its case assessment process set out in its monetary penalty guidance (“Guidance”), which makes this case a useful, albeit currently limited, illustration of its application of that process.
In this briefing, we discuss the significance of the first monetary penalty imposed by OFSI, particularly:
- the reduction to the final penalty amount as a result of Raphaels Bank’s disclosure and co-operation;
- the low-value of the breach;
- the current brevity of the notification;
- possible public interest considerations behind the penalty; and
- the two procedural rights of review available under section 147 of the Act.
On 5 October 2018, HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published its Annual Review for the 2017-18 financial year. This is the first such review published by OFSI and provides an overview of OFSI’s activities in 2017-18, as well as looking to the future. We set out some of the highlights of the Annual Review below.
The Annual Review confirms that 122 new asset freeze targets (or “designated persons”) were added to the UK Consolidated List, mostly under the DPRK and ISIL regimes. During this period, the UK also introduced ‘avoidance of delay’ provisions allowing new UN sanctions regimes to be implemented immediately after the relevant resolution is adopted (rather than waiting for EU action, as was previously the case), reducing the risk of asset flight.
In 2017-18, 122 suspected breaches of financial sanctions were reported to OFSI. OFSI did not impose any monetary penalties in 2017-18 (having had the power to do so since April 2017), but it is currently investigating several cases where a penalty may be appropriate. OFSI states that it is likely to impose monetary penalties in 2018-19, although the majority of cases will continue to be resolved by enforcement activity short of a penalty.
The Annual Review says that OFSI will continue to raise awareness of financial sanctions obligations in 2018-19, by producing guidance and speaking at events. It will ensure it maintains a central role in global sanctions implementation as the UK prepares to leave the EU. It is said that the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, which received Royal Assent in May, will help to achieve this.
On 24 May 2018, it was announced that the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (the “Act”) had received Royal Assent. The Act is the first piece of UK primary legislation governing the post-Brexit legal position and will create a post-Brexit framework for the imposition and enforcement of sanctions and the replication of the pre-Brexit anti-money laundering (“AML”) compliance regime. Continue reading
Welcome to the March 2018 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Continue reading
On 13 November 2017, the EU Council unanimously voted to impose a wide range of targeted sanctions on Venezuela in response to the growing political crisis in the country. Notably, the new EU sanctions go further than current US measures against Venezuela by including an arms embargo, as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze.
Further to a similar regime being imposed on Mali in order to target those seeking to derail the 2015 peace agreement, the UK has laid the legal groundwork for financial sanctions to be imposed once relevant individuals have been identified. Please click here for our full briefing.