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FT: 127 UK companies admit breaching Russia sanctions

by Martin Fornusek November 6, 2023 6:26 PM 2 min read
The HM Treasury building on Horse Guards Parade is seen on Setpt. 27, 2022, in London, U.K. (Rob Pinney/Getty Images)
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A total of 127 U.K. companies admitted to breaching British sanctions against Russia as of May 17, the Financial Times reported on Nov. 6, citing the U.K. government's data.

The firms voluntarily disclosed their breaches against the sanctions regime in a freedom of information request submitted to the Treasury and seen by the Financial Times.

Admitting to the violations can help reduce the government's penalties, which can range from no action to civil penalty or criminal prosecution.

London has imposed sanctions on over 1,600 individuals and entities since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. These restrictions include a ban for U.K. companies from dealing with over two dozen banks and over 100 oligarchs.

A person close to the Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, a body responsible for monitoring violations, told the news outlet that the unit was "not trying to unduly penalize honest mistakes" and takes into account relevant efforts and checks made.

Efforts to adhere to sanctions are reportedly complicated by a lack of transparency over the actual beneficiaries of companies, as well as Russian shares in shell companies.

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Transparency International reported on Feb. 18, 2022, that Russian individuals accused of corruption or links to the Kremlin hold over $1.9 billion in property in the U.K.

Many Kremlin-backed oligarchs were permitted to live in the country through the so-called "golden visa" scheme, allowing wealthy individuals to buy the right to live in the U.K. by investing in British-registered companies.

Shortly before the start of the invasion, London scrapped the golden visa scheme and applied a number of sanctions against Russian entities and individuals as the full-scale war broke out.

UK sanctions Russians involved in organizing sham elections in occupied parts of Ukraine
The U.K. has announced new sanctions against Russian officials for their involvement in organizing sham elections in occupied territories of Ukraine, the British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced on Sept. 29.

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