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The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (’SAMLA’) received Royal Assent on 23 May 2018, and provides for sanctions (e.g. prohibitions or requirements) to be imposed where appropriate, for the purposes of:
The Act also makes provision for the purposes of:
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The Act reduced the risk of the UK breaching international financial sanctions obligations following its withdrawal from the European Union (‘EU’) on 31 January 2020:
After the transition period ended SAMLA allowed the UK to implement (or amend) sanctions, where necessary to comply with its obligations as a UN member; and also, to impose sanctions independently of the international community.
The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2018 were made on 21 November 2018, triggering commencement of a number of SAMLA’s provisions from 22 November 2018. Remaining provisions, including the repeal of certain existing legislation relating to sanctions and anti-money laundering (under Part 2 of SAMLA), commenced at a later date.
The Sanctions Regulations (EU Exit) (Commencement) Regulations 2020 (made on 10 December 2020), implemented certain regulations made under Part 1 of SAMLA:
Financial sanctions which relate to a specific country or terrorist group are known as ‘regimes’. See the UK Gov website for specific regulations and designated persons for each regime imposed in the UK.
Sanctions regulations may be made where an appropriate Minister considers it is appropriate to make a regulation:
Sanctions regulations do one or more of the following (references apply to the relevant section in SAMLA):
’Designated persons’ means:
‘Person’ includes (in addition to an individual and a body of persons corporate or unincorporate) any organisation and any association or combination of persons.
In (a) ’the regulations’ means the regulations mentioned in SAMLA sections 3 (financial sanctions), 4 (immigration sanctions), 5(1) (trade sanctions), 6 (aircraft sanctions), 7 (shipping sanctions) or 8 (other sanctions for purposes of UN obligations), as the case may be.
The regulations include authorisation for the appropriate Minister to:
To designate a person by name the Minister must:
An ‘involved person’ means a person who:
Where a person is designated by name a statement of reasons should be issued, indicating matters that the Minister knows, or has reasonable grounds to suspect, in relation to that person and which led to a designation being made. Information may be excluded where this is in the interests of national security or international relations, or for other lawful exclusion reasons.
For the Minister to conclude that persons of a specified description should be designated by description, the following conditions must be satisfied:
A ‘statement of reasons’ should indicate the matters that the Minister knows, or has reasonable grounds to suspect, in relation to persons of the specified description which have led the Minister to make the provision designating persons of that description. Information may be excluded where this is in the interests of national security or international relations, or for other lawful exclusion reasons.
In limited instances an exception might be applicable, or a licence obtained (from or via the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (‘OFSI’)) to enable continuance of an activity that would otherwise be prevented under the regulations. Section 15 of SAMLA includes, Regulations may:
For information on how to apply for a licence to progress a transaction or activity covered by financial sanctions, see Guidance published by the OFSI. Applications should be made as early as possible and at least four weeks before a licence is needed. OFSI can only issue a licence where there are legal grounds to do so.
The UK has registers of beneficial ownership for three asset types:
The SAMLA introduced a requirement that the Secretary of State must, after the end of each reporting period (as defined in the SAMLA), publish a report explaining the progress that has been made during that period towards putting in place a register of beneficial owners of overseas entities. Where, for the purposes of Section 50 of the SAMLA ‘a register of beneficial owners of overseas entities’ means a public register:
With regards to a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership of companies registered in British Overseas Territories, Section 51 SAMLA requirements include:
These FAQ have been prepared with a specific focus on the SAMLA. Other Financial Sanctions FAQ indicate information to consider with regards to, for example:
Financial sanction framework arrangements should include:
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