OFSI updates sanctions enforcement guidance

OFSI has updated its guidance on sanctions enforcement and monetary penalties, which will take effect from 15 June 2022. The changes reflect the amendments to enforcement powers created in the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, which removed the need for OFSI to show that a person had reasonable knowledge or cause to suspect they were breaching sanctions before it could issue a fine. The change applies only to civil liability for breaches, and does not affect any assessment of whether there has been a criminal offence.

The maximum penalties have not changed.

OFSI has previously published details of its fines but can now publicise details of financial sanctions breaches committed after 15 June 2022 where it did not impose a fine.

OFSI’s overall approach to enforcement of financial sanctions has not changed and voluntary disclosure is still encouraged as being a potential mitigating factor. OFSI will impose a civil monetary penalty “where it is appropriate, proportionate and in the public interest to do so”.

OFSI will continue to assess how severe the overall breach is as well as the conduct of the persons involved. This includes consideration of whether the person committing the breach knew or suspected that their conduct amounted to a breach of financial sanctions, as well as expected knowledge of the person and their exposure to financial sanctions risk.

OFSI will assess any breaches that occurred before 15 June in line with the current guidance.

Harshil Patel