On February 21, 2022, the UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation announced the imposition of a £36,393.45 monetary penalty against Clear Junction Limited, a global electronic payment services provider, in accordance with s146 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (PACA) for violating regulation 4 of the Ukraine (European Union Financial Sanctions) (No. 2) Regulations 2014. OFSI reports that the penalty was imposed for “making funds available to a designated person, without a licence.”
According to OFSI, on April 18, 2018 Clear Junction voluntarily disclosed that it processed 8 transactions for accounts held at the Russian National Commercial Bank (RNCB), a designated entity under the EU’s Ukraine Sanctions Regulations that were in force at the time – transactions that were initiated by TransferGo, one of Clear Junction’s client. Clear Junction allegedly informed TransferGo on April 19, 2018 that payments related to RNCB would no longer be processed and fully cooperated with OFSI promptly providing information as requested. However, OFSI’s investigation identified 7 additional transactions that Clear Junction processed but failed to disclose, including 2 that occurred before Clear Junction’s self-disclosure and 5 that occurred after. OFSI determined that a total of 15 unlawful transactions were made between March 20, 2018 and June 18, 2018 that were valued at £7,703.68 and, as a result, imposed a £36,393.45 monetary penalty against Clear Junction that included a partial reduction only for the 8 transactions that Clear Junction disclosed voluntarily. Clear Junction exercised its right to have a ministerial review of the decision in accordance with s147 of PACA, and on June 25, 2021, the Minister upheld both the imposition of the penalty by OFSI and the amount. The Minister also denied Clear Junction’s request for anonymity after determining “that such anonymity would be contrary to the objectives of the financial sanctions regime and not in the public interest.”
RNCB remains sanctioned under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 which implements the UK’s autonomous sanctions regime against Russia since Brexit.