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Treasury to introduce £1m penalty for breaching financial sanctions

Hayley Kirton
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The Treasury tackled over 100 suspected breaches last year (Source: Getty)

Those who breach serious financial sanctions could be slapped with a seven figure penalty as of next year.

The Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) will, from next April, be able to impose penalties of £1m or 50 per cent of the value of the breach, whichever is higher, for such breaches.

The UK currently has sanctions in place which cover almost 2,000 individuals, groups and countries. For example, financial sanctions are currently in place against certain individuals who have been identified as associates of Isil and Al-Qaida.

The Treasury dealt with over 100 suspected breaches of financial sanctions last year, including deliberately funnelling money to people subject to financial sanctions while their finances are frozen. One breach was worth around £15m.

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"Financial sanctions are a powerful tool in defending our national security, but their strength has been diluted by those who breach sanctions regulations," said economic secretary, Simon Kirby. "These new cash penalties will incentivise everyone to comply with the rules, keeping our country safe and strong."

Rena Lalgie, head of OFSI, added:

Financial sanctions are also about maintaining the integrity of and confidence in the UK financial services sector. That is why we won’t hesitate to take robust action where a breach merits it.

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The Treasury has also launched a consultation on how it should approach laying down these penalties.

In particular, it is looking for input on where these monetary penalties might be appropriate, what factors should be taken into account when considering the penalty amount and in what circumstances OFSI should publish the details of penalties imposed.

The consultation will stay open for feedback until 26 January.

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