Law Society seeks legal profession’s views on sanctions issues

The Law Society (England & Wales) is seeking to engage with the legal profession on sanctions issues.  The first issues they are looking at are the new sanctions reporting obligation on legal professionals, and sanctions licensing issues (click here for further information). Please contact Helena Mumdzjana, AML Policy Adviser at the Law Society by 16 March 2018 if you would like to contribute to these discussions.

133 suspected sanctions breaches reported in UK in 2017

In response to a written question in Parliament, the Government has said that 133 suspected sanctions breaches were reported to OFSI in 2017, with an approximate value of £1.4 billion. An earlier version of the reply had 118 suspected breach cases worth £117 million.  As of April 2017, 103 breaches had been reported since OFSI gained the ability to impose monetary penalties under the Policing and Crime Act 2017.  Text of the answer here.

Government invites views on post-Brexit sanctions bill in Commons

The Government is inviting submissions on the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that is currently making its way through Parliament. The Bill is intended to allow the UK to operate its own sanctions policy following Brexit and continue to implement UN sanctions – currently the majority of its sanctions originate in or are implemented through the EU’s sanctions framework.

The Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons this week and has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee, which will meet for the first time on Tuesday 27 February. Submissions to the committee should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk, and the committee’s press release is here.

The House of Commons has published a briefing paper on the Bill, updated explanatory notes, and a transcript of the Bill’s second reading is available here.

UK Government on EU sanctions cooperation post Brexit

shutterstock_624878165The Prime Minister today (Saturday 17 February) gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference (text here), saying that the UK “will want to continue to work closely” with the EU on sanctions. “We will look to carry over all EU sanctions at the time of our departure. And we will all be stronger in the UK and EU have the means to co-operate on sanctions now and potentially to develop them again in the future.” As to “ensuring the Iranian nuclear deal is properly policed or standing up to Russia’s hostile actions, whether in Ukraine, the Western Balkans or in cyberspace… our success depends on a breadth of partnership that extends far beyond the institutional mechanisms for cooperation with the EU”.
The UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson MP also gave a speech on various aspects of Brexit last Wednesday, one of a series of speeches by cabinet ministers. He said that post Brexit “It would be illogical not to discuss such matters as sanctions together, bearing in mind that UK expertise provides more than half of all EU sanctions listings.” Link here (14 February 2018).

UK extends EU Venezuela sanctions to Overseas Territories

Parliament2The UK has passed the Venezuela (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2018, SI 2018/179, which gives effect in specified Overseas Territories to the EU sanctions measures provided in Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063. Those include an arms embargo, framework to impose targeted measures against those responsible for human rights violations and/or undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela (see previous blog here). The Order comes into force on 8 March 2018.

The Overseas Territories to which this Order extends: Anguilla; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; Cayman Islands; Falkland Islands; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands; St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in the Island of Cyprus; Turks and Caicos Islands; and Virgin Islands.

UK froze £580k under DRC sanctions

HM Treasury.jpgIn response to a written Parliamentary Question, HM Treasury has said that from 23 July 2005 until 30 September 2016, it froze approximately £580,000 of funds in the UK pursuant to the EU’s Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions regime (Council Decision 2010/788/CFSP (as amended) and Council Regulation (EC) 1183/2005 (as amended)). Between those dates, 38 people and 9 entities were subject to EU asset freezing measures. The figures for 2017 have yet to be finalised.

UK Export Control (Amendment) Order 2018

Parliament6The new Export Control (Amendment) Order 2018, SI 2018/165, comes into force on 5 March 2018.  This amends Schedule 2 to the Export Control Order 2008, SI 2008/3231, (which lists military goods, software and technology subject to export controls) in order to implement Commission Directive (EU) 2017/2054, amending Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the list of defence-related products.

UK Gov releases sanctions-related metrics for 2017

Parliament3In response to a written Parliamentary Question, the UK Government has released a number of sanctions-related metrics from 2017. In particular: “A total of 118 suspected breach cases were reported to Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) during the calendar year of 2017. The approximate aggregate value of [those] suspected breaches was £117million. As of April 2017, a total of 84 suspected breaches [were] reported to OFSI since OFSI gained the ability to impose monetary penalties under the Policing and Crime Act 2017…”