The UK adopted new sanctions against Russia but has not punished violators yet

The British regulator has recorded a surge in suspicions of violations of sanctions against Russia but has not yet punished any violators.

The UK issued only one warning over sanctions violation – Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg, the British Financial Services Authority has so far issued only one warning to the payment company Wise Plc for allowing a person under sanctions against Russia to withdraw 250 pounds (almost 300 euros).

473 alleged violations of anti-Russia sanctions

The British sanctions office recorded 473 alleged violations in its annual report through April.

London has split its approach to sanctions enforcement, with the National Crime Agency dealing with tax evasion and scrutiny of wealthy Russians in London, while the Financial Services Authority generally responds to reports of violations.

According to Francis Bond, a lawyer at Macfarlanes specializing in sanctions and criminal offenses, there is a lack of enforcement for most sanctions, despite the need for them.

At the same time, the head of the British sanctions office, Giles Thomson, said that his office is moving “to a proactive model of sanctions.”

The UK created a special unit to strengthen the fight against sanctions evasion

Earlier, the UK announced the creation of a special unit to strengthen the fight against companies that evade sanctions against Russia.

Companies that evade sanctions, including those imposed since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, will face stricter restrictions due to the creation of a new Office for Trade Sanctions Implementation (OTSI), the statement said.

According to the British government, the agency will have more powers to impose fines for sanctions violations and refer cases for prosecution to HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs).

The agency will, in particular, monitor the activities of companies that can avoid sanctions by sending products through other countries.

Once new legal requirements take effect, the OTSI will operate starting in early 2024. The unit will strengthen the British government’s current work in ensuring compliance with London’s sanctions.

The UK government approved new sanctions against Russia

Earlier, the UK government approved legislation to impose further sanctions on goods, technology, and sources of funding that Russia could use to wage war against Ukraine.

“Following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK and its allies introduced the most severe sanctions ever imposed on a major economy. Imports to the UK from Russia fell by 94% in the year following the invasion, while exports plunged by 74%. This new package of sanctions builds on that record. It bans the export of a range of goods that carry a risk of military or industrial usage, as well as the latest items Ukraine has found on the battlefield, including machine parts and electronics. Given the low levels of UK-Russia trade, these sanctions will ensure we are able to continue depriving Russia of products it could use in its war. In essence, only low-risk, humanitarian, food, and health exports will remain unsanctioned after this”, the report says.

The new package of British sanctions bans the export of goods that have military or industrial applications, as well as the latest battlefield equipment, including spare parts and electronics found in Ukraine.

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