On March 31, 2016, a new “Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation” (OFSI) was established within Her Majesty’s Treasury, with responsibility for ensuring that sanctions are “properly understood, implemented and enforced in the UK.” Despite an expansion in the number of sanctions programmes in the EU in recent years, as well as increasingly complex rules, there have not been any significant enforcement actions in the UK, a situation which contrasts with the enthusiastic enforcement practices of US sanctions enforcement agencies. OFSI is expected to work closely with other regulatory authorities, such as the FCA, to apply a more effective sanctions enforcement regime than has previously been the case. To this end, the government is also legislating to ensure that suitable remedies are available for sanctions enforcement. Provisions in the Policing and Crime Bill outline new administrative penalties, monetary penalties and an increase in the maximum custodial sentence for breaching financial sanctions to seven years on conviction on indictment (or six months imprisonment on summary conviction).
The OFSI website is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-financial-sanctionsimplementation.