“Acting for corporates and individuals in matters covering the full gamut of business crime, BCL has earned ‘a profile that is entirely justified’.”
Sanctions are a long-established tool of states and international organisations, aimed at achieving political (usually foreign-policy) objectives by means of bans or restrictions involving specified activities and/or specified individuals or entities. ‘Comprehensive’ sanctions regimes, aimed at entire states, were common prior to the widespread criticism of sanctions affecting Iraq in the 1990s. Modern sanction regimes are instead aimed at specified individuals or entities, or at trade in specified goods or types of goods.
In the UK, sanctions are enforced by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) and mainly originate from the UN and/or the EU, although their enforcement is covered by domestic legislation. Targeted financial sanctions operate by listing a number of individuals and/or entities whose assets are frozen and with whom, in effect, all transactions are forbidden. Examples include individuals associated with particular regimes or who are suspected of involvement in terrorist groups, or nuclear proliferation (eg in Iran).
The export of specified goods or types of goods to specified countries may also be banned or restricted. Although generally this refers to arms or other military or dual-use goods, there are some countries (eg Syria and North Korea) to which the export of luxury items is also banned. The Export Control Organisation (“ECO”) issues licences for controlling the export of such goods.
Businesses that operate in the UK should also be aware of the potential relevance of the laws of other jurisdictions. This includes in particular the US, whose territorial reach can extend in practice to most transactions in US dollars, as well as those that involve US citizens or companies. US sanctions are enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).
BCL provides expert advice to individuals and businesses on compliance with sanctions and export control regimes, as well as to those at risk of investigation for suspected breaches. It also advises and represents those targeted by sanctions, including applications to annul EU sanctions at the ECJ.
It will often be the case that investigations into these offences span more than one jurisdiction, which can raise issues for the organisation concerned in terms of reaching a global settlement and for the individuals in terms of the risk of extradition and potential criminal liability in more than one country. Having acted in a number of the most high profile corruption and sanctions cases in the UK, BCL is well placed to represent organisations and individuals involved in these investigations, both domestically and internationally.