On April 26, 2021, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation and the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the UK’s first sanctions issued under the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/488) pursuant to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, to impose asset freezes and travel bans for persons and entities involved in serious corruption. The sanctions target 22 individuals involved in the most serious cases of corruption in Russia, South Africa, South Sudan and throughout Latin America, to disrupt unlawful activity by corrupt persons and their enablers rather than entire nations.
Global Anti-Corruption sanctions builds upon the UK’s Global Human Rights Sanctions regime and replaces the Misappropriation (Sanction)(EU Exit) Regulation 2020 that addressed the misappropriation of State funds from any country outside of the UK. Foreign Secretary Raab indicated that the new sanctions regime was specifically intended to prevent corrupt persons from profiting from the UK economy, exploiting its citizens, and using the UK as a safe haven for dirty money.
US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken each released statements welcoming the enactment of the UK’s new Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime and expressing an interest in collaborating with the UK to defend human rights and combat corruption. Secretary Yellen emphasized how complementary sanctions by the US and the UK will magnify the impact of each country’s respective sanctions, while Secretary Blinken compared the UK’s new sanctions regime to the US Global Magnitsky sanctions program and created additional opportunities for the US and UK to coordinate on human rights and corruption sanctions endeavors.