David Harris (UK)

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OFSI penalises FinTech company for breach of Crimea sanctions

On 5 August 2021, the UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) announced that it has imposed a penalty on TransferGo Limited (TransferGo) of £50,000 for issuing payments to accounts held at the Russian National Commercial Bank (RNCB) in violation of EU sanctions against Crimea (in breach of Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014, as enforced … Continue Reading

Updated CPS guidance on s330 POCA prosecutions where money laundering cannot be proven

On 2 June 2021, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) updated its guidance on prosecuting failure to report cases under s330 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). Prior to the update, the CPS did not charge failure to report offences under s330 POCA where there was insufficient evidence to establish that money laundering was in fact … Continue Reading

NCA: Bribery and corruption risk to rise

On 25 May 2021, the National Crime Agency (NCA) published its national strategic assessment of serious and organised crime. Compared to 2020, the NCA concludes that the threat to the UK in respect of bribery and corruption has increased dramatically. Reasons for this include both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. Key takeaways from the report … Continue Reading

EU Blocking Regulation Opinion

On 12 May 2021, Advocate General Hogan issued his opinion in the first case by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considering the Blocking Regulation. The Opinion, in Case C-123/20 Bank Melli Iran v Telekom Deutschland GmBH [2018], sets out proposals for how the CJEU should respond to a reference from the Regional … Continue Reading

Mobile data and investigations

Remote working has accelerated the merger of work and private data, particularly on mobile phones and instant messaging services such as WhatsApp. While employees are performing their jobs, mobile access may be putting their employers at risk – because work-related communications on unapproved platforms are frequently not preserved in accordance with regulatory requirements (where applicable), … Continue Reading

UK launches new anti-corruption sanctions regime

On 26 April 2021, the UK government announced a number of designations under its new global anti-corruption sanctions regime, which is designed to stop “those involved in serious corruption from entering and channelling money through the UK” (see press release). Under the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regulations 2021 (SI 2021 No. 488) the UK government has … Continue Reading

OFSI’s revised guidance on the imposition of monetary penalties may signal a more aggressive approach to sanctions enforcement – Five takeaways

On 10 March 2021, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published its revised guidance on Monetary Penalties for Breaches of Financial Sanctions (Guidance), which replaces the prior 2018 version and comes into force on 1 April 2021. From this date, the new Guidance will apply to all cases where OFSI becomes aware of … Continue Reading

Misuse of the furlough scheme: an emerging risk in M&A

More than one in four UK employees (over 9 million people) have been furloughed during the course of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme). HMRC considers that as much as £3.5 billion has been paid out in wrong or fraudulent claims and it has received over 20,000 reports of fraudulent furlough claims from … Continue Reading

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Trends 2019

In this on-demand webinar, members of our Regulation and Investigations team in London explore regulatory and sanctions trends that emerged throughout 2019 as well as likely developments for the upcoming year based on recent enforcement cases and forward-looking statements from the regulators. To access the webinar, please click the below link and enter your details … Continue Reading

UK Syria sanctions: OFSI turns to enforcement in telecoms sector

On 28 October 2019, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, announced a £146,341 fine against Telia Carrier UK Limited (Telia) for indirectly facilitating international telephone calls to SyriaTel in violation of EU asset freeze sanctions against Syria (implemented in the UK under the Syria (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2012). … Continue Reading

Data privacy risks in investigations: navigating difficult waters

GDPR[1] together with increasingly stringent data protection legislation in many jurisdictions presents a major headache for companies conducting investigations[2]. There are now significant challenges in lawfully reviewing employee data and doing so requires careful consideration and management of data privacy risks (and documentation of this process). Many organisations do not adequately manage these risks when … Continue Reading

FCA publishes its Anti-money Laundering Annual Report emphasising the use of ‘dual track’ enforcement

On 9 July 2019, the FCA published its Anti-money Laundering (AML) Annual Report for 2018/2019. The report echoes Mark Steward’s comments in a speech earlier this year in relation to the FCA’s increasing focus on criminal investigations for money laundering. The newly published Report states that ‘some’ of the FCA’s current AML investigations are now … Continue Reading

Hope for investors in London Capital & Finance as FSCS continues to explore whether there are grounds for compensation

London Capital & Finance (LC&F), which collapsed in January 2019, was authorised by the FCA in relation to its promotional activities. However, the actual sale of mini-bonds by LC&F was not a regulated activity and so not typically protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which has called into question the scope of protection … Continue Reading

Mark Steward indicates it may be time for criminal prosecutions under the Money Laundering Regulations

In a recent speech, FCA Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight Mark Steward again made clear that the FCA is prepared to use its power to bring criminal proceedings for breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) obligations set out under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs … Continue Reading

Global Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Trends for 2019

In this on-demand webinar, members of our Regulatory, Compliance and Investigations team in London, France, the US and Hong Kong give their thoughts on likely regulatory enforcement and sanctions trends for the rest of this year based on recent enforcement cases and forward looking statements from the regulators. Topics discussed include individual accountability, anti-money laundering … Continue Reading

The FCA has announced that there will be an independent investigation into the failure of London Capital & Finance

On 1 April 2019, the FCA announced that there will be an independent investigation into the failure of London Capital & Finance (LC&F). The FCA stated that the investigation should cover: whether the existing regulatory system adequately protects retail purchasers of mini-bonds from unacceptable levels of harm; and the FCA’s supervision of LC&F. LC&F was … Continue Reading

FCA fines multinational firm £27.6 million for transaction reporting failures

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined a multinational investment bank and financial services company (the Firm) £27,599,400 for failing to ensure it provided complete and accurate information to approximately 86 million reportable transactions and erroneously reporting 49 million transactions to the FCA. The Final Notice states that over a period of more than nine years, … Continue Reading

The FCA fines an individual for failing to observe proper standards of market conduct and on similar facts issues its first formal decision under its competition powers against three asset management firms

On 21 February 2019, the FCA fined two asset management firms for breach of competition law.  No fine was imposed on the other asset management firm, Newton Investment Management Limited (Newton), as it had been given immunity under the competition leniency programme.  This decision followed the FCA’s announcement on 4 February 2019 that it had … Continue Reading

New MOU between the ICO and FCA following GDPR

On 18 February 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office and FCA published an updated memorandum of understanding setting out the terms of the relationship between them, including the exchange of information in relation to potential failures of systems and controls in relation to data security and related investigations. The MOU comes in the context of … Continue Reading

OFSI’s first monetary penalty: Raphaels Bank

On 21 January 2019, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, issued a £5,000 fine against R. Raphael Bank & Sons plc, trading as Raphaels Bank, for dealing with £200 belonging to an unidentified designated person in violation of EU sanctions against Egypt (implemented in the UK under the Egypt (Asset-Freezing) … Continue Reading

Sanctions and Supply Chains: e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. pays nearly USD 1 million to settle North Korea sanctions violations

A US-based cosmetics company, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. (ELF), has reached a USD 996,080 settlement with the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for importing 156 shipments of false eyelash kits containing materials sourced from North Korea in apparent violation of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations. The materials were supplied by two of ELF’s China-based … Continue Reading

France, Germany and UK launch INSTEX to facilitate European trade with Iran

In a joint statement on 31 January 2019, France, Germany and the UK (together, E3) announced the creation of a payment channel SPV (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, INSTEX) to offer European companies a settlement option in relation to their Iranian business activities. INSTEX aims to facilitate legitimate trade between European companies and Iran, focusing … Continue Reading

FCA review of firms’ whistleblowing arrangements

The FCA has finalised its review of how firms have implemented its whistleblowing rules, which became effective from September 2016 (the Rules). A copy of the review can be found here. The review, which focused on a range of retail and wholesale banks, found that the Rules had helped to ensure that firms implemented whistleblowing arrangements … Continue Reading

UK High Court rules on sanctions exclusion clause and comments on the interpretation of the EU Blocking Regulation

In a judgment recently handed down by the High Court (available here), it was held that the defendant  insurance companies were liable to pay an insurance claim under a marine insurance contract relating to the theft of certain cargo shipments when in Iran, provided such payment be made before the re-imposition of applicable US secondary … Continue Reading