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.

OFAC sanctions Iraqi money services business over ISIS support

US Treasury Building2OFAC has designated Afaq Dubai, an Iraq-based money services business (MSB), as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 (US asset freeze) for “moving money for [ISIS]”. The US Treasury press release says “[c]ontrary to what the name may imply, this MSB is located in Iraq and does not have any branches in the United Arab Emirates”. See OFAC Notice.

UN designates 3 vessels over illicit DPRK ship-to-ship transfers

Oil tanker ship.jpgThe UN Security Council has designated 3 vessels – Shang Yuan Bao, New Regent, and Kum Un San 3 – pursuant to para 12 of UNSC Resolution 2321 (2016) and para 6 of UNSC Resolution 2371 (2017), for engaging in illicit North Korea-related ship-to-ship transfers, “likely for oil”. The vessels will now be subject to de-flagging and a UN-wide port ban. See UN press release.

P&P Breakfast Seminar following full ‘snap back’ of US Iran sanctions – 6 Nov 2018

P&P Logo.jpgPeters & Peters will be hosting a breakfast seminar on the latest developments in economic sanctions on 6 November 2018 – the day after full ‘snap back’ of US secondary sanctions on Iran.

Anna Bradshaw will chair the event in discussion with leading sanctions practitioners including confirmed speakers Maya Lester QC of Brick Court Chambers and Barbara Linney of Miller & Chevalier in Washington DC.

Discussions will focus on the repercussions of US sanctions policy for EU businesses and the experience of the extended EU Blocking Statute to date. Panellists will also consider the interplay with global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards as well as with other US and EU sanctions programmes.

Venue

The Law Society – Reading Room

113 Chancery Lane

London, WC2A

Time

8:30 am – Registration

9:00 am – Start

10:00 am – Finish

Places are limited for this open invitation event. Please confirm your attendance as soon as possible by emailing events@petersandpeters.com (indicating any dietary requirements).

EU extends ISIL & Al-Qaida sanctions by 1 year

EU5.jpgYesterday, the EU extended its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions measures until 31 October 2019. The EU also added Algerian national Hocine Bouguetof to the sanctions list (travel ban, asset freeze, and arms embargo imposed). See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1540 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1539.

New EU chemical weapons sanctions regime

EU6The EU announced today that it has adopted a new sanctions regime to “address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons”. As a result, the EU will now be able to impose an EU-wide travel ban and/or asset freeze on those “involved in the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, regardless of their nationality and location”. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1544 and Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1542.

It is reported that Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin – the two Russian military intelligence officers allegedly involved in the Novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK – will be the first targets sanctioned under the new regime.

OFAC further extends EN+ and RUSAL related licences

Logo_of_the_U.S._Office_of_Foreign_Assets_Control_(OFAC)Today, OFAC has issued 3 general licences related to EN+ Group and RUSAL, which further extend the expiration date of their previous versions from 12 November 2018 to 12 December 2018. See General Licences 13E, 14B, and 16B. See OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.

US FinCEN advisory on Iran’s “illicit and malign activities”

FinCENYesterday, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an advisory to help U.S. financial institutions detect and report potentially illicit transactions related to Iran and to help foreign financial institutions “understand the obligations of their U.S. correspondents, to avoid exposure to U.S. sanctions, and to address the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) risks that Iranian activity poses to the international financial system”.

The US Treasury press release says that following the full re-imposition on 5 November 2018 of sanctions lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), FinCEN “expects that Iranian financial institutions, the Iranian regime, and its officials will increase their efforts to evade U.S. sanctions to fund malign activities and secure hard currency for the Government of Iran. Treasury and the U.S. Government are interested in information related to the Iranian regime’s efforts outlined in this advisory, as well as information pertaining to how the Iranian regime or Iranian entities subject to sanctions, including the CBI, otherwise evade the sanctions and access the U.S. financial system.”

OFSI renews 2 TAFA designations

HMTreasury.jpgYesterday, OFSI renewed the terrorist listings of two entities – Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and Sendero Luminoso (SL) – under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc Act 2010 (TAFA).

The OFSI Notice explains that a renewed designation may be appealed to the High Court (or, in Scotland, to the Court of Session) under section 26 of TAFA.