UK Banks Face Tighter Sanctions Enforcement

New powers for the UK Treasury to curb violations of financial sanctions rules

In recent years, financial sanctions have rarely been out of the news headlines. The list of asset freeze targets has grown, in the context of the continuing fight against terrorist financing, the war in Syria and Russia’s actions in Crimea and the Ukraine.

Criminal prosecutions against UK financial institutions relating to financial sanctions violations have historically been rare, requiring proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the financial institution is guilty of a sanctions breach. Under legislation coming into force in April 2017, financial institutions operating both domestically and internationally are now exposed to an increased risk of monetary penalties for sanctions violations.

In this Navigant regulatory update, we look at the new powers granted to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation by the Policing and Crime Act 2017, the penalties for noncompliance, including the aggravating and mitigating factors, and who will be affected by the new proposals.

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