April 15, 2024

Council of the EU announces final approval of law that sets minimum rules for EU sanctions violations

On April 12, 2024, the Council of the European Union provided final approval for a law that establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offenses and penalties involving the violation or circumvention of EU sanctions.  According to the Council, the new law makes it a criminal offense in all member states to engage in certain actions, including efforts to help bypass a travel ban, trade in sanctioned goods or perform prohibited financial transactions.  The law also enables EU persons to be penalized for inciting, aiding and abetting these offenses.

The new law, which was adopted by the European Parliament on March 12, 2024, requires member states to impose criminal penalties that are “effective, dissuasive, and proportionate” and vary depending upon the offense, while individuals who engage in intentional violations of EU sanctions must be subject to a maximum penalty of time in prison.  The law also enables companies to be held liable for sanctions violations committed by persons in leadership within the organization.

Now that the Council has approved of the directive, it will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.  Member states will have a year from the date of publication to transpose the rules into national legislation.

Council of the EU Press Release | Directive of the European Parliament and Council