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New penalties for breaching financial sanctions 05/04/2017 The Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation is now able to use powers to impose penalties for serious financial sanctions breaches

New penalties for breaching financial sanctions

The Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) is now able to use powers to impose penalties for serious financial sanctions breaches. These can be up to £1 million or 50% of the breach, whichever is higher.

OFSI, created on 31st March 2016, is the UK’s Competent Authority for implementing financial sanctions. It works with a wide range of individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organisations who could be impacted by financial sanctions to: raise awareness of financial sanctions, improve compliance, and detect and address breaches.

OFSI’s new power is one of a series of measures in the Policing and Crime Act that will strengthen the Government’s response to financial sanctions breaches. The penalty powers apply to offences committed after 1st April 2017. In 2016, just over one hundred suspected breaches were reported to OFSI, 95 of which were actual breaches, totalling around £75 million.

“Financial sanctions are a valuable tool against individuals, countries and terrorist groups who threaten UK foreign policy and financial services as well as our national security,” said Economic Secretary, Simon Kirby. “This Government won’t tolerate breaches of financial sanctions. We’ll continue to place more emphasis on compliance and we will take tough action against those who deliberately flout the law.”

Monetary penalties are a new way of responding to offences. The UK currently imposes financial sanctions in 27 sanctions regimes. Breaching sanctions is a criminal offence and the most serious cases could shortly incur prison sentences of up to seven years.

 

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