OFSI has used its disclosure enforcement power for the first time to highlight a breach of the Russia (Sanctions) EU Exit Regulations 2019. This power allows OFSI to publish notices of breaches where it has decided not impose any financial penalty.
Wise Payments Limited breached regulation 12 by permitting a £250 cash withdrawal from a business account held by a company owned or controlled by a person designated under the 2019 Regulations. It had in place controls to identify possible breaches and stop payments into and out of accounts, but had a policy of not stopping related debit cards while it investigated the breach, following a high number of false positive results. It self reported, and OFSI considered its controls were inadequate in this respect.
The disclosure notice reminds firms to carefully consider what steps are appropriate to manage their sanctions risk exposure.
OFSI has also updated its guidance on enforcement and monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions to provide more detail on how breaches are categorised (as lesser severity, moderate severity or serious enough to justify a civil monetary penalty).