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sanctions lists and their impact. In terms of best practice, some useful suggestions for businesses include: • Do not try to be an expert. Instead, ensure that your approach to sanctions (and other issues such as money laundering) consists of casting a broad net that catches anything suspicious – any links to a sanctioned country within a transaction, or anything that appears unusual to your teams. The expertise and advice on next steps should then come from your compliance team and/or specialist lawyers, who have the knowledge, resources and experience to accurately advise on the appropriate course of action. The people in your business should focus on escalating their suspicions and concerns to the


appropriate level, and should avoid making their own assessment of complex situations, as the wrong response could have devastating financial and reputational consequences.


• The rapid pace of global events can mean changes to sanctions regimes with little (or no) notice, so do ensure that you include appropriate and robust sanctions clauses in your contracts – particularly, provisions allowing you to terminate the agreement if another party becomes the subject of sanctions. If you are being asked to enter into a contract which requires your


company to comply with any sanctions regime, you will need to ensure that your business is able to comply in practice with the contractual provisions.


• Consider process improvements aimed at minimising the risk of human error, such as a customer relationship management system, which allows your staff to easily cross-check potential customers and suppliers


www.heavyliftpfi.com


against sanctions lists.


• Be mindful of your financing arrangements: it is likely that your loan agreements contain sanctions and anti-money laundering provisions; banks are subject to particularly high scrutiny (and indeed financial penalties) when it comes to breaches of these laws. Accordingly, they may well insist on quite onerous undertakings and broadly worded events of default clauses. When financing or refinancing, never skim over these provisions as standard wording – read them carefully, and if in doubt seek advice from specialist lawyers.


Attitudes


One final point is businesses’ attitudes to sanctions and financial crime. There is often a tendency to see these as an unwelcome interruption to commercial activity. There is no question that complying with these obligations can be onerous, time-wise and financially. However, 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. With


appropriate vigilance, established processes and specialist advice, the burden and bureaucracy of compliance can be minimised to allow commercial activity to proceed seamlessly.


HLPFI


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.


Clyde & Co LLP - London www.clydeco.com


+44 (0) 20 7876 5000


Clare Hatcher, partner clare.hatcher@clydeco.com Kirsten Conacher, associate kirsten.conacher@clydeco.com


May/June 2018 79


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