The focus on how UK businesses interact with those connected to certain countries and organisations – and the Government’s sanctions regime – has increased since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
There have been a number of changes to the regime, so the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published guidance to help law firms in England and Wales understand their obligations.
The sanctions regime applies to all firms that provide legal services, not just those that are captured by the anti-money laundering regulations. So some firms will need to take a closer look at, for example, implementing effective client due diligence measures.
The guidance lays out what the SRA expects from the firms it regulates and provides advice on how best to meet these obligations.
The UK regime is operated by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). The measures are imposed by the government to achieve specific foreign policy or national security objectives. A breach of UK sanctions is a criminal offence and is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.