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SPOTCHECKLEGAL


Sanctions – practical steps to tackle the challenge


International economic sanctions are of particular relevance to those working in the shipping and


international trade sector, which should be acutely aware of the thorny issues they raise. Clare Hatcher (right), partner and Kirsten Conacher, associate at the London office of Clyde & Co LLP, highlight some of the current issues.


proliferation of sanctions in recent years. Around 32 countries are now subject to EU sanctions (with only around half of these resulting from UN obligations), while US sanctions (pertinent for any transaction conducted in US dollars and for anyone coming under the broad definition of a US person) are even wider in scope and are used as a popular strategic and diplomatic tool.


T 78 Aggressive approach


In the UK, the government’s approach to sanctions has – in common with other countries and international organisations – become much more aggressive in recent years, with the establishment of the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) in 2016. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 further bolstered OFSI’s powers. The detection rate for sanctions infringement has also increased and banks have stringent reporting obligations where they suspect sanctions breaches, as do solicitors, accountants and other professionals. Post-Brexit, the UK


May/June 2018 here has been a notable


government has expressed its intent to continue complying with the EU sanctions regime, while retaining the freedom to impose its own additional measures if required. Undoubtedly, the sanctions landscape is looking increasingly complex. This year, sanctions have continued to expand. The USA has widened sanctions against regimes and individuals in Venezuela, North Korea and Russia, while US President Trump has decided not to renew the waiver of secondary sanctions against Iran.


In January 2018, a further raft of sanctions took effect against Russia, the most


It is important to understand that compliance is not optional and that the consequences of a breach in implementation can be extremely serious and, in some cases, carry personal liability.


significant being the expansion of restrictions under section 223 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which prohibits US persons from involvement in certain types of oil projects anywhere in the world, and not just in Russia where certain Russian entities have significant ownership or voting interests.This was followed in April 2018 by the imposition of sanctions on a number of Russian oligarchs which disrupted the aluminium market.


EU sanctions


On the opposite side of the Atlantic, Implementing Regulations (EU) 2018/87 and 2018/88 recently extended EU sanctions against various Venezuelan and North Korean individuals.


It is clear that sanctions are here to stay, and that all businesses – particularly those with an international dimension – need to be aware of the issues involved. Sanctions regimes vary in scope, are multi-layered and are subject to frequent change; in practical terms, a busy commercial team will find it challenging to keep up with the minutiae of


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