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.

S Korea imposes further sanctions against N Korea

S Korea2.jpgSouth Korea has sanctioned 20 North Korean entities and 12 individuals in response to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launch on 29 November (list yet to be published). The sanctions, which came into effect today, involve asset freezes and prohibitions on South Korean entities and individuals from transacting with those on the list. It is reported that Rason International Commercial Bank, Korea Industrial Group and Daebong Shipping Company are amongst the sanctioned entities.

These measures come a month after South Korea imposed unilateral sanctions against 18 North Korean individuals for alleged financial links with the state’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes (see previous blog here).

EU intends to renew Tunisia sanctions

EU3The EU has announced its intention to renew the restrictive measures provided for in its Tunisia sanctions regime, see: Council Decision 2011/72/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) 101/2011.

The EU Notice states that the Council holds on its file “new elements” concerning all persons listed under the regime, and that they may submit a request to obtain the information that relates to them before 15 December 2017.

US House passes Resolution calling for Burmese sanctions

Burma1The US House of Representatives has passed a Resolution “condemning ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and calling for an end to the attacks in and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the state of Rakhine in Burma”. Among other things, the Resolution calls on the President to impose sanctions on “those responsible for human rights abuses, including members of Burma’s military and security services”. The Resolution will now move to the Senate for approval.

 

US visa restrictions for those undermining Cambodian democracy

Cambodia.jpgThe US has announced that “in direct response to the Cambodian government’s series of anti-democratic actions”, it will be restricting entry for those individuals involved in “undermining democracy in Cambodia”.

The acts of the Cambodian government triggering these visa restrictions are stated to be “the dissolution of the main opposition political party and banning of its leaders from electoral politics, imprisonment of opposition leader Kem Sokha, restriction of civil society, and suppression of independent media”. Click here for the US Department of State press release.

Dentsply Sirona Inc settles with OFAC for violating Iran sanctions

OFAC3Dentsply Sirona Inc, a US company specialising in dental solutions, has agreed to pay OFAC $1,220,400 to settle allegations that it committed 37 violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. In particular, that, between November 2009 and July 2012, indirect subsidiaries of Dentsply Sirona Inc had exported 37 shipments of dental equipment and supplies from the US, to distributors in third-countries, with knowledge or reason to know that the goods were ultimately destined for Iran. OFAC determined that the case was not voluntarily disclosed and that the violations had constituted a non-egregious case. Click here for the OFAC enforcement information.

UK Venezuela regulations in force

Parliament1.jpgThe UK’s Venezuela (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2017, SI 2017/1094, came into force yesterday (6 December 2017). We previously reported that the Regulations make provision for UK enforcement, licensing, penalties etc in respect of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063, the EU’s sanctions on Venezuela.

EU Parliament Magnitsky recommendation published

Russia-EU.jpgLast week, the European Parliament’s recommendation to the Council on 2 April 2014 was published, recommending visa restrictions and asset freezes for Russian officials said to be involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case. The recommendation called for 32 named Russian citizens to be placed on an EU-wide visa ban list and to seize any financial assets that they might hold within the EU.

OFAC releases 2016 Terrorist Assets Report

Logo_of_the_U.S._Office_of_Foreign_Assets_Control_(OFAC)OFAC has published its 2016 Terrorist Assets Report, outlining the “nature and extent of assets held in the United States by terrorism-supporting countries and organizations engaged in international terrorism”.

The Report states that sanctions targeting international terrorist organisations had resulted in the blocking of approximately $34m in the US. Whereas, approximately $149m in assets relating to the three designated state sponsors of terrorism in 2016 (Iran, Sudan and Syria) had been blocked.