On March 10, 2021, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published a revised version of its Monetary Penalties for Breaches of Financial Sanctions Guidance (Guidance), which will come into force on April 1, 2021. The new Guidance will be used to assess any potential financial sanctions breaches of which OFSI becomes aware on or after that date. The current version of the Guidance will remain applicable in the meantime.

The structure and scope of the revised Guidance is largely unchanged. The majority of the additions and changes focus on the case assessment and penalty calculation processes and seek to clarify OFSI’s position on certain issues as well as reflect some of the lessons OFSI has learned through its monetary penalty cases since May 2018. However, the revised Guidance is not purely an update or restatement. While the overall monetary penalties regime has not materially changed, a number of the changes to the Guidance indicate a stronger enforcement stance from OFSI.

Most notably, the amendments to the Guidance suggest an intention to make use of monetary penalties in concert with other enforcement tools and the possibility of a broader interpretation of OFSI’s jurisdiction to impose penalties. In some cases, the changes are subtle and only time will tell whether certain changes reflect new interpretations or shifts in enforcement stance or are simply the product of drafting.

For detailed analysis of the key amendments, click here to read the full Client Alert from Steptoe.