What’s this all about?
For the first time the UK government has imposed sanctions on individuals connected with corruption outside the UK. This article takes a brief look at this issue.
What are the rules?
The UK now has a new legal regime at its disposal to prevent and combat serious corruption called “The Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regulations 2021” (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/488/contents/made). Anyone falling foul of this regime is included on the UK sanctions list (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uk-sanctions-list).
The UK also sees this new regime as promoting effective governance, robust democratic institutions and the rule of law and thereby demonstrating the UK’s power as a force for good around the world.
What has the UK done?
Under this new regime the UK recently imposed asset freezes and travel bans against twenty-two individuals involved in major corruption matters in Russia, South Africa, South Sudan and in South America.
More specifically, the UK’s targets are:
- Individuals involved in the diversion of USD$230 million of Russian state property through a fraudulent tax refund scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblower who died in detention;
- Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta and their associate Salim Essa who were involved in long-running corruption in South Africa;
- Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali for involvement in the misappropriation of significant amounts of state assets; and,
- Individuals involved in serious corruption in Latin America, including facilitating bribes to support a major drug trafficking organisation and misappropriation.
These sanctions build on the UK’s global human rights sanctions regime (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/680/made) established in July 2020 under which the UK has imposed sanctions on 78 individuals and entities involved in serious human rights violations, including from Myanmar, Belarus, China and Russia.
What are the takeaways?
As part of their sanctions compliance organisations will have to keep track of sanctioned individuals under this new regime. If they don’t already have the UK sanctions list on their radar they should make sure that they do so.
This action on the part of the UK can also be seen as the UK demonstrating an ability to act independently and make its mark post-Brexit.
Clearly businesses must do all they can to stamp out bribery and corruption and deal with it properly when it occurs. Our UK Bribery Act 2010 FAQs give more details of what proper policies and procedures are likely to involve – to obtain a copy of our FAQs please click here https://www.corderycompliance.com/contact-us/.
It is also worth noting that bribery risks are greater during the pandemic and many organisations are also struggling to deal with those risks through training and investigations. There are more details of how the pandemic has altered bribery enforcement here http://www.bit.ly/covbribe.
We report about bribery and corruption issues here https://www.corderycompliance.com/category/bribery-corruption/.
We report about sanctions issues here https://www.corderycompliance.com/category/sanctions/.
We report about compliance issues here https://www.corderycompliance.com/news/.
The UK government’s official press release about the corruption sanctions can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-sanctions-22-individuals-involved-in-serious-international-corruption.
For more information please contact André Bywater or Jonathan Armstrong who are lawyers with Cordery in London where their focus is on compliance issues.
|Jonathan Armstrong, Cordery, Lexis House, 30 Farringdon Street, London, EC4A 4HH||André Bywater, Cordery, Lexis House, 30 Farringdon Street, London, EC4A 4HH|
|Office: +44 (0)207 075 1784||Office: +44 (0)207 075 1785|