New UK sanctions for Litvinenko killing

Sir Robert Owen has published his report into the death by radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London, in November 2006.  In light of the report concluding that it is a “strong probability” that the ex-KGB officer and critic of the Russian government was murdered on the order of the FSB (the Russian security services), and that the killing was also “probably approved” by then head of the FSB Nikolai Patrushev and Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that the UK has introduced asset freezes against Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun (HM Treasury notice here), who are named in the report as Litvinenko’s killers, and there have been several calls for additional new sanctions to be imposed on Russia.  Previous measures against Russia, taken in view of the belief that it was responsible for the death of Litvinenko, including the expulsion of four Russian embassy officials, tighter visa controls on diplomatic staff, and limited cooperation with the FSB will remain in place.

The new UK sanctions are imposed under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (part of the UK’s autonomous sanctions powers), under which HM Treasury may make a freezing order where the Treasury has a reasonable belief that people specified in the order “have taken or are likely to take action which is to the detriment of the UK economy; or a threat to the life or property of one or more nationals or residents of the UK.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK Tim Farron described the murder of Litvinenko as having “trampled over British sovereignty”, and called for “EU travel bans, asset freezes…and a new Magnitsky Law to make sure that these people are held to account for what they did”.  In 2012, the United States introduced the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions those said to be responsible for the alleged murder of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, extrajudicial killings generally, and other human rights abuses.

This entry was posted in Russia, United Kingdom by Michael O'Kane. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael O'Kane

Michael O’Kane is a partner and Head of the Business Crime team at leading UK firm Peters & Peters. Described as ‘first-rate’ (Legal 500 2012), he “draws glowing praise from commentators” (Chambers 2013) for handling the international aspects of business crime, including sanctions, extradition and mutual legal assistance. Called to the Bar in 1992 and prior to joining Peters & Peters he was a senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters(CPS). At CPS HQ he was a key member of a small specialist unit responsible for the prosecution of serious and high profile fraud, terrorist and special interest criminal matters including the Stansted Airport Afghan hijacking and the prosecution of Paul Burrell (Princess Diana’s butler). Michael joined Peters & Peters in 2002. He became a partner in May 2004, and Head of the Business Crime team in May 2009. Since joining Peters & Peters, Michael has dealt with a wide range of business crime matters. He has particular expertise in international sanctions, criminal cartels, extradition, corruption, mutual legal assistance, and FSA investigations. Described as“ an influential practitioner in fraud and regulatory work, so much so that he is top of the referral lists of many City firms for independent advice for directors” (The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2009), he was recognised as one of the UK’s most innovative lawyers in the 2011 FT Innovative Lawyer Awards and included in the list of the UK's leading lawyers in 'The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery 2012. In 2012 he was the winner of the Global Competition Review Article of the Year. Michael regularly appears on television and radio to discuss his specialist areas and he is the author of the leading textbook on the UK Criminal Cartel Offence “The Law of Criminal Cartels-Practice and Procedure” (Oxford University Press 2009). Recent/Current Sanctions Work • Representing 109 individuals and 12 companies subject to designation by the European Council under targeted measures imposed against Zimbabwe. This is the largest and most complex collective challenge to a sanctions listing ever brought before the European Court. • Acting for a former Egyptian Minister and his UK resident wife, challenging their designation by the European Council of Ministers under targeted measures brought against former members of the Egyptian Government. • Advising a company accused in a UN investigation report to have breached UN sanctions imposed in relation to Somalia. • Advising a UK company in relation to ongoing commercial relationships with an Iranian company listed under both EU and UN sanctions. • Advising an individual in relation to a UK investigation for alleging breaching nuclear export controls.

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