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UK: Monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions

(S) Download case studies and documentation as regards monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions.

Financial sanctions are an important part of foreign policy, and support national security. They help to maintain the integrity of and confidence in the UK financial services sector.

Generally, they are imposed in order to:

  • coerce a target's ability to carry out unacceptable behaviour by increasing the cost

  • on them to such an extent that they decide to seize the unacceptable behaviour to constrain a target by trying to deny them access to key resources needed to

  • continue their unacceptable behaviour, including the financing of terrorism or nuclear proliferation

  • signal disapproval of a target as a way of stigmatising and potentially isolating them, or as a way of sending broader political messages to international or domestic constituencies.

Monetary Penalty

The powers to impose a monetary penalty, and the limits on the level of penalty, are created by s.146 of the 2017 Act

Power to impose monetary penalties

(1) The Treasury may impose a monetary penalty on a person if it is satisfied, on the

balance of probabilities, that-

(a) the person has breached a prohibition, or failed to comply with an obligation,

that is imposed by or under financial sanctions legislation,


(b) the person knew, or had reasonable cause to suspect, that the person was in

breach of the prohibition or (as the case may be) had failed to comply with the


(2) The amount of the penalty is to be such amount as the Treasury may determine but it may not exceed the permitted maximum.

(3) In a case where the breach or failure relates to particular funds or economic resources and it is possible to estimate the value of the funds or economic resources, the permitted maximum is the greater of-

(a) £1,000,000, and

(b) 50% of the estimated value of the funds or resources.

(4) In any other case, the permitted maximum is £1,000,000

Criminal Prosecution of up to 7 years

The 2017 Act also increased the maximum sentence for criminal prosecutions from 2 to 7 years' imprisonment and brings financial sanctions into the scope of Deferred Prosecution Agreements and Serious Crime Prevention Orders.

Case Study

  • Telia Carrier UK Limited Telecommunications

  • Council Regulations (EU) No 36/2012 enforced by the Syria (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012 No 129)

  • Making economic resources available to a designated person, without a licence

Download PDF • 1.51MB

Case Study

  • Standard Chartered Bank

  • EU Council Regulation 833/2014, Ukraine (European Union Financial Sanctions) (No.3) Regulations 2014

  • Making funds available to a designated person, without a licence

Download PDF • 102KB

Monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions - Guidance Document

Download PDF • 641KB

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