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Topic: Beyond Sanctions: Key considerations for financial services firms

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Fit for purpose? The UK’s Treasury Committee scrutinises UK sanctions

In March 2022, a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Treasury Committee published a report regarding the development, implementation and impact of economic sanctions on Russia (the 2022 Report).  In brief, the 2022 Report found that: The UK’s sanctions framework has continued to evolve, with businesses left to navigate the increasing complexity of implementing … Continue Reading

Statutory Instrument: The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) Regulations 2024

On 28 February 2024, a statutory instrument (SI) – the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (Regulations) 2024 – was published on legislation.gov.uk. The SI amends the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.   The SI was published alongside an explanatory memorandum, which notes that the legislation will ban the import of Russian diamonds processed in … Continue Reading

New UK civil enforcement authority created to investigate violations of trade sanctions

The UK’s Industry and Economic Security Minister, Nusrat Ghani, today announced the creation of a new civil enforcement unit, the Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation (OTSI). OTSI is expected to become operational early next year, and will focus on the civil enforcement of trade sanctions, including in relation to the circumvention or evasion of the current … Continue Reading

Horizon Scanning – Investigations and Enforcement – November 2023

Introduction As anticipated in our previous horizon scan (see here), the end of 2023 has brought about significant developments in financial crime enforcement and a real focus on fraud. Looking ahead to 2024, we predict that developments affecting organisations doing business in the UK will include: a focus from organisations on fraud, in particular preparing … Continue Reading

Initial steps to take on discovery of a sanctions breach

Introduction Following the unprecedented levels of sanctions activity in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in companies dealing with the most significant and complex sanctions regimes across multiple jurisdictions, authorities in the US, UK and EU are now turning their attention to enforcement of those sanctions. Sanctions authorities have indicated that they … Continue Reading

Does the Russian state “control” companies within its territory? Questions of control are considered by the English Court of Appeal.

On 6 October 2023, the English Court of Appeal (Court of Appeal) handed down its judgment in Mints v PJSC National Bank Trust [2023] EWCA Civ 1132.  The judgment considered the English High Court’s decision in PJSC National Bank Trust and another v Boris Mints and others [2023] EWHC 118 (Comm), and concerned a claimant’s … Continue Reading

FCA review of Sanctions systems and controls

On 6 September 2023, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) published the findings of its review of the sanctions systems and controls in place at over 90 financial services firms operating in a range of sectors (the Review). This briefing summarises the FCA’s findings on good practices currently being followed by firms, as well … Continue Reading

UK investigations and financial crime: Horizon Scanning

As anticipated in our previous blog post on predictions for 2023, this year has brought about significant developments in investigations and a real focus on fraud. Looking ahead to the second half of 2023, we predict that developments affecting UK business or those doing business in the UK will include: 1. Fraud Economic Crime and … Continue Reading

FCA speech – How to change in response to changing threats

On 17 May 2023, the FCA published a speech given by Sarah Pritchard (FCA Executive Director of Markets, and Executive Director of International) entitled How to change in response to changing threats. Among other things the speech asks important questions regarding financial crime controls: Ms Pritchard states that these are important questions to ask – … Continue Reading

Are your due diligence measures fit for purpose? OFSI provides further clarity on its assessment of breaches of financial sanctions

In line with indications that it will prioritise enforcement in the coming year, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has expanded its enforcement guidance concerning the approach it takes when assessing potential breaches of financial sanctions. Earlier this month, OFSI amended its “OFSI enforcement and monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions” guidance (the … Continue Reading

Financial crime investigations in the UK: looking ahead to 2023

As we enter a recession against the backdrop of ongoing geopolitical instability, we expect to see significant financial crime enforcement and investigations in 2023, including a focus on emerging areas such as ESG, cryptocurrencies, and significant developments in financial sanctions. We predict that developments in 2023 will include: 1. Fraud We expect to see continued political … Continue Reading

Individual accountability for directors of non-UK entities under the UK’s Russian sanctions regime

In addition to the obligations on regulated firms to comply with applicable sanctions regimes, individuals also need to be aware of their own compliance with sanctions restrictions. From a territorial perspective, individuals must comply with the sanctions regimes in their home jurisdiction wherever in the world they are located — for example, EU, UK and … Continue Reading

Reporting to OFSI: what do I need to do ?

On 30 August 2022, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published a blog entitled ‘Reporting to the OFSI: what do I need to do?’ The blog describes what companies’ reporting obligations are under UK financial sanctions legislation and how they can be met. It also sets out high level examples. In terms of how … Continue Reading

OFSI updated guidance on the general principles for financial sanctions under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018

On 30 August 2022, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published updated general guidance for financial sanctions under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. Chapter 5 of the general guidance dealing with reporting obligations has been expanded.… Continue Reading

European Commission updates FAQs on asset freeze and prohibition to make funds and economic resources available

On 30 August 2022, the European Commission updated their FAQs on asset freeze and prohibition to make funds and economic resources available. The FAQs have been updated to include the following question and answer: Does a listing affect the status of a beneficial owner of a legal person ? EU sanctions are temporary measures that … Continue Reading

OFSI updates licensing timeframes in its general guidance for financial sanctions under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018

On 28 July 2022, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) updated its general guidance for financial sanctions under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. The guidance outlines firms’ obligations under financial sanctions, as well as OFSI’s approach to licensing and compliance issues. It takes into account relevant case law and guidance at the … Continue Reading

New RT Plus podcast – Beyond Sanctions – Key updates

The sixth instalment of our Beyond Sanctions podcast series is now available to stream and download on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. In this episode, David Harris, Co-Head of our Contentious Financial Services Group in London, discusses some recent developments in the sanctions landscape for regulated firms, including key points from the: Red Alert on Financial Sanctions … Continue Reading

UK sanctions: the ban on providing professional and business services to persons “connected with Russia”

On 4 May 2022, the UK Government announced a ban on services exports to Russia, and as of 21 July 2022 that ban is now in force by virtue of regulation 54C of The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (as amended by The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 14) Regulations 2022) (the Regulations). … Continue Reading

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 – the conundrum of strict liability

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the Act), which came into force in March 2022, aimed amongst other things, to give UK sanctions authorities greater power to take enforcement action and impose penalties on persons that breach sanctions restrictions, through the introduction of a “strict liability” test. These new powers of the UK’s … Continue Reading

Recent developments signal a rise in sanctions enforcement risk for UK regulated firms

Whilst historically there have been relatively low levels of sanctions enforcement in the UK, in light of recent developments, in the coming months we expect to see more scrutiny in this area and increased enforcement activity in relation to sanctions breaches. In our latest briefing, first published on Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence on 24th June … Continue Reading

Governance Lessons Learned: experience from implementation of Russian sanctions

UK regulated firms seeking to comply with the Russian sanctions have had to grapple with fast moving legislative and regulatory change, and have inevitably encountered governance challenges along the way.  The lessons learned as part of that process have read across which may assist firms in reacting to future developments beyond sanctions.  Conducting a governance … Continue Reading

New RT Plus podcast – Beyond Sanctions – Enforcement

The next instalment of our Beyond Sanctions podcast series is now available to stream and download on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. In this episode, David Harris and Katie Stephen, Co-Heads of our Contentious Financial Services Group in London, discuss some recent developments regarding sanctions enforcement for regulated firms. For further updates in this area please … Continue Reading

Regulation Around the World – Beyond Sanctions

What have the financial services regulators been doing following the sanctions imposed on Russia? In the latest instalment of our Regulation Around the World series we cover some of the regulatory alerts that financial services regulators have issued in key jurisdictions. Our global updater focussing on the regulatory alerts is accompanied by further analysis in our … Continue Reading
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