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’ activities and the consequences of falling foul of these prohibitions can be severe.
In a climate of increasing regulation which entails not just the requirement for corporate good governance, but the risk of 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.
Violations of sanctions rules, including circumventing any restrictive measures, can lead to criminal penalties and large fines. 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 auditors, estate agents, tax advisors and lawyers. Failure to report 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 with expertise in a broad range of disputes. Though we are based in London, we have access to the best local specialist law firms around the world (including the EU and the US) through our networks and relationships. We are not part of a large global firm obliged to use a local office.
We have a depth of experience across the sanctions landscape and have advised clients on regulatory challenges involving sanctions in numerous contexts, including:
- Advising family offices, private equity, and lenders on potential acquisitions and financing arrangements that encounter financial or trade sanctions issues.
- Advising clients in relation to their operations and global supply chains, ensuring that they are compliant with the international sanctions regime.
- Advising clients on the ramifications of sanctions issues arising in a commercial context (such as the designation of a counterparty) and assisting with termination scenarios and any ensuing litigation or arbitration.
- Advising clients with frozen or seized assets and engaging with banks and other financial institutions, as well as law enforcement agencies, in relation to the recovery of such assets.
- Advising companies and individuals in relation to their exit strategies from jurisdictions subject to sanctions regimes, including the Russian markets.
- Advising a sovereign state to help it design and build a phased escalation plan to implement sanctions against adverse actors in the event of deteriorating geopolitical relations.
We know how to make sure that our clients successfully navigate the global sanctions landscape and, if necessary, deal with OFSI to make notifications, applications for specific licences, and submissions that relate to sanctions violations issues.