HM Treasury is about to get tougher on businesses who break EU sanctions

July 14, 2015
Yesterday’s landmark deal over Iran’s nuclear programme would not have been possible without sanctions. With appetite for military intervention declining across the Western World, it won’t be the last time we need them. But when every sanction Britain applies is a lost opportunity for its businesses, how do we make sure they’re enforced?

Buried deep in the Chancellor’s Summer Budget is the announcement that the UK Government will establish a new Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). The stated aim of this new body is to provide a “high quality service to the private sector” by making sure sanctions are “properly understood”. In case the nature of that service were in any doubt, the Treasury noted that penalties for breaching financial sanctions will also be increased.

In this article, Dechert Partner Miriam Gonzalez and Senior Director Roger Matthews consider what this means for businesses affected by sanctions. While companies may welcome that OFSI will aim to ensure that firms better understand the restrictions imposed by sanctions, the increased emphasis on enforcement in the UK, which is not yet matched by other EU Member States where the same laws apply, may be more cautiously received. It remains to be seen whether the Chancellor will give the new OFSI the budget to deliver on its remit.

This article appeared in The Telegraph on 14 July 2015.

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