On June 8, 2022, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation published general and monetary penalty guidance to provide the public with an overview of OFSI’s approach to financial sanctions enforcement, and a review of upcoming changes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the enactment of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022. The measures will take effect on June 15, 2022. OFSI Director Giles Thomson also released a brief message highlighting OFSI’s new enforcement powers.
After June 15, 2022, OFSI will impose civil monetary penalties on a strict civil liability basis: OFSI will no longer have to prove that a person had knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect that they were in breach of financial sanctions. In sanctions enforcement matters, OFSI will only have to establish that there has been a breach of financial sanctions prohibitions.
There are no significant changes in OFSI’s approach to monetary penalties. Monetary penalties will not be imposed for every breach of financial sanctions after June 15, 2022, and OFSI will continue to impose monetary penalties when it is “appropriate, proportionate and in the public interest to do so.” OFSI will also continue to emphasize the importance of self-disclosure as a potential mitigating factor.
In an effort to raise awareness of financial sanctions and deter future non-compliance, OFSI will have the power to publicize the details of financial sanctions breaches committed after June 15, 2022 where a monetary penalty has not been imposed. OFSI can publish a summary of the case and the persons who committed the breach. Decisions to publish will be made on a case-by-case basis, and OFSI will notify persons prior to publication in order to provide them with an opportunity to make representations.
Finally, reviews concerning monetary penalties that are requested after June 15, 2022 may be handled by someone other than a minister. This allows for flexibility in the review process and enables HM Treasury to more effectively manage its resources. The right to obtain a review of monetary penalties issued by OFSI will not change, and the ability to further challenge monetary penalties at the Upper Tribunal will not be affected.