October 31 2017
New sanctions authorities and expanded enforcement capacities in the UK are introducing an important compliance consideration for companies around the world. The UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) reportedly opened 125 investigations between March 2016 and July 2017. The OFSI also revealed that there are 60 “live” investigations into organisations suspected of breaching the UK sanctions regime. The first cases are likely to be made public in early 2018. Several commentators have referred to the OFSI as a new “UK-OFAC” (referencing the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions enforcement agency the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC).
London remains a preeminent international financial and business hub. UK enforcement has the potential to expand the reach of UK/EU economic sanctions, just as the importance of the U.S. dollar and New York financial hub helps expand the reach of U.S. sanctions.