The UK Government has recently extended United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) sanctions relating to Yemen, Iraq and the Central African Republic to the British Overseas Territories.
- Yemen (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (No 2) Order 2015 (No. 1381), enters into force on 18 June 2015 and gives effect in specified overseas territories to sanctions relating to Yemen imposed by existing United Nations Security Council Resolutions and reflects the implementation of UN adopted sanctions by the EU in Council Decision 2014/932/CFSP.
- Iraq (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2015 (No. 1383), has a commencement date of 8 July 2015 and extends the arms embargo, asset freezing provisions targeting individuals and entities designated by the United Nations Sanctions Committee and the prohibition on the import or export of illegally removed Iraqi cultural property to specified overseas territories.
- Central African Republic (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2015 (No. 1380), also has a commencement date of 8 July 2015 and gives effect in specified overseas territories to certain provisions set out in United Nations Security Resolutions related to sanctions against the Central African Republic as implemented in the EU by Council Decision 2015/739/CFSP and Council Regulation 2015/734/EU.
Over recent years, economic sanctions and wider trade restrictions adopted by the UN and those implemented, administered and enforced in the EU measures have been extended to the British Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Therefore, like wider prohibitions and restrictions relating to jurisdictions such as Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Russia, the three UK Overseas Territories Orders extend UN and EU sanctions measures to the following territories:
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- St. Helena
- Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Turks and Caicos Islands, and
- Virgin Islands.
What does this mean for your business?
It is crucial that businesses headquartered, domiciled or incorporated in one of the British Overseas Territories, or those businesses which otherwise conduct activity via or are engaged with a counter-party located in a British Overseas Territory, seek specialist legal advice before undertaking any transaction which may involve Yemen, Iraq or the Central African Republic.
In general terms, prohibitions and wider restrictions adopted under UN or EU sanctions regime and extended to apply in the UK Overseas Territories will depend on the jurisdiction targeted by the regime. However, there are broadly four main offences each of which carries criminal liability:
- Making any funds or assets directly or indirectly available to or for the benefit of a sanctioned individual or entity
- Dealing with any funds or assets that are owned, held or controlled by a sanctioned individual or entity
- Exporting, selling, transferring or making certain controlled or restricted products (eg key equipment for the oil and gas sector) available (either directly or indirectly) to, or for use in, a jurisdiction subject to sanctions measures, and
- Participating knowingly and intentionally in activities the object or effect of which is to: (i) directly or indirectly circumvent the offences listed above; or, (ii) enable or facilitate the commission of the offences.