Tougher penalties in UK for breach of sanctions

Posted on: 19/01/2017

On 18 January, the Policing and Crime Bill was passed by the UK Parliament. It is currently awaiting Royal Assent to come into force. Part 8 of the Bill introduces tougher enforcement measures for breaches of financial sanctions, and also allows for the easier implementation of EU and UN sanctions.

The key provisions are:

  • Higher maximum penalties for breaches of financial sanctions. The current maximum penalty for breaches of financial sanctions is two years. The Bill provides for an increased maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment.
  • New civil monetary penalties. Under the new framework, HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (‘OFSI’) will have the power to impose civil monetary penalties of up to £1m or 50% of the total value of the breach, whichever is greater, where ‘action short of prosecution’ is appropriate.
  • Deferred prosecution agreements. Where a business is charged with a criminal offence for breach of sanctions, prosecution may be suspended subject to conditions imposed by the court, such as the introduction of a compliance regime or a financial penalty. If the agreement is breached, then proceedings may be resumed.
  • Serious Crime Prevention Orders (‘SCPOs’). The courts will have the power to impose restrictions to prevent or deter a serious crime. Breach of a SCPO is a criminal offence, and punishable by up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.
  • Temporary UK sanctions legislation. The UK government can adopt temporary legislation to cover any hiatus between the adoption of new sanctions by the UN and their implementation by the EU.


The text of the Bill can be found HERE

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