Sanctions

The sanctions landscape is in constant motion and can be complex and challenging to navigate in a global interconnected economy. 

The wide-reaching prohibitions and trade restrictions imposed by the United Nations, European Union and the UK Government can affect business dealings with Government bodies, corporates and individuals.  With criminal penalties or large fines being imposed for breaches of sanctions and export controls, including for circumventing these restrictive measures, the consequences of falling foul of these prohibitions can be severe.

The UK Treasury's Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) was established in 2016 and its remit increased last year to allow for civil penalties for breaches of trade sanctions. These carry a lower burden of proof than criminal prosecution and come with the possibility of fines up to £1 million or 50% of the value of the breach attached. In addition breaches of criminal sanctions can now be dealt with by way of deferred prosecution agreements for corporate entities. 

In England and Wales the responsibility for reporting that a person has either committed an offence under the financial sanctions/assets seizure regimes or is a “designated person” under those regimes was expanded to a far wider group of professionals than had been the case. This requirement now encompasses auditors, estate agents, tax advisors and lawyers amongst other professions. Failure to do so is itself a criminal offence. 

Our sanctions experts sit within a team of almost 200 litigators and include former senior members of the Crown Prosecution Service. We are based in London with access to the best local specialist law firms in the relevant jurisdictions through our networks and relationships. We are not part of a large global firm tied to using a local office.

We have represented both individuals and corporate entities that have fallen foul of the sanctions regime in several different jurisdictions including a US law firm caught up in the Volcker investigation into oil for food and a sovereign wealth fund subject to Treasury and US sanctions. We are experienced in dealing with HMT/OFSI on notifications, licence applications and submissions relating to sanctions violations issues.

Our sanctions lawyers have access to Reputation Protection experts and the latest electronic disclosure and case management tools.

  • Acting for a sovereign wealth fund subject to Treasury and US sanctions and advising in respect of an internal fraud.
  • Acting for an individual investigated in respect of Iranian sanctions breaches.
  • Advice to a US law firm caught up in the Volcker investigation into oil for food sanctions breaches.
  • Advising a professional who had unknowingly received payment for services from funds subject to UK and EU sanctions.
  • Advising state owned company formerly subject to UK/EU/UN/US sanctions – obtaining successful outcomes in representations to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute/World Check/various UK financial institutions which had frozen funds as a result of this designation
  • Acting for a sanctioned individual in a successful de-designation process before OFAC
  • Advising corporates on scope of UN, US, EU and UK sanctions regimes and formulating policies, procedures and screening protocols in accordance with relevant legislation
  • Dealing with HMT/OFSI on notifications, licence applications and submissions relating to sanctions violations issues
  • Advising on sanctions issues in the context of due diligence processes, transactional activity and client take on
  • Dealing with ancillary sanctions issues in the context of commercial litigation

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