On October 16, 2023, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office released a statement addressing the recent UK Court of Appeal’s judgment in Mints & others v PJSC National Bank Trust & another in which the court determined that a Russian financial institution, PJSC National Bank Trust, was “controlled” by designated Russian officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, by virtue of their political office. The court determined that the bank was sanctioned even though it had not been listed as a sanctioned entity by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation.
In an effort to clarify its position on the matter, the FCDO indicated that, when making sanctions determinations, it would usually designate a public body when the public official was designated if the FCDO considered that the public official was exercising control over that public body. According to the FCDO, there is also “no presumption on the part of the Government that a private entity based in or incorporated in Russia or any jurisdiction in which a public official is designated is in itself sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the relevant official exercises control over that entity.”
The FCDO also reports that it is exploring all options available in order to clarify its position and reduce any uncertainty.