The sanctions landscape is constantly changing. Navigating its interconnected global complexities requires expert advice.
Wide-reaching prohibitions, trade restrictions and export controls imposed by the United Nations, European Union and the UK can affect any business’s activities and the consequences of falling foul of these prohibitions can be severe.
In a climate of increasing regulation which entails not just corporate good governance but personal criminal liability in case of breaches, ensuring compliance with the global sanctions regime - and understanding what can and cannot be done lawfully - is of existential importance to many businesses.
Breaches of sanctions, including circumventing any restrictive measures, can lead to criminal penalties and large fines, and punitive measures are only being broadened. For instance, the UK Treasury's Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation ("OFSI") can now impose civil as well as criminal penalties. These require a lower burden of proof, with a maximum fine of up to £1 million or 50% of the value of the offence.
Furthermore, in England and Wales the responsibility for reporting offences has been expanded to a far wider group of professionals including among others, auditors, estate agents, tax advisors and lawyers. Failure to do so is itself a criminal offence, whether that is reporting an actual offender or simply a “designated person” on the UK Sanctions List.
To meet this regulatory challenge our sanctions experts sit within a team of over 300 litigators. Though we are based in London, we have access to the best local specialist law firms around the world through our networks and relationships. We are not part of a large global firm obliged to use a local office.
We have led internal investigations relating to alleged violations of sanctions regulations and advised clients on regulatory challenges involving sanctions in numerous sectors including shipping, international trade, financial services, life sciences and the travel industry (including making reports to OFSI).
We have helped a sovereign state to design and build a phased escalation plan to implement sanctions against adverse actors at various escalation points in the event of deteriorating geopolitical relations.
And we have rescued 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 know how to make sure that our clients successfully navigate the global sanctions landscape and, if necessary, deal with OFSI to make notifications, licence applications and submissions that relate to sanctions violations issues.