HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has published a revised version of its Monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions guidance (Guidance), which came into force on January 28, 2022.  The new Guidance will be used to assess any potential financial sanctions breaches of which OFSI becomes aware on or after that date.

The revisions contained in the Guidance focus on OFSI’s case assessment process and, in particular, when the investigation and enforcement of possible UK financial sanctions breaches is in the public interest.

While the revisions made to the Guidance do not represent a major shift in approach, they pare back commentary and eliminate examples of circumstances that OFSI takes into consideration when assessing whether – and what type of – enforcement action is in the public interest in response to any given case.

These changes highlight the level of discretion afforded to OFSI when determining whether to investigate potential breaches of financial sanctions and make use of its civil enforcement powers.

For more information about this development, contact the author of this post, Alexandra Melia, or a member of Steptoe’s Economic Sanctions team in London.