News Business Crime & Financial Services 20th Oct 2017

Sanctions & Anti-Money Laundering Bill Published

On Thursday, 19th October 2017, the UK government published the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill,

 “… to make provision enabling sanctions to be imposed where appropriate for the purposes of compliance with United Nations obligations or other international obligations or for the purposes of furthering the prevention of ​terrorism or for the purposes of national security or international peace and security or for the purposes of furthering foreign policy objectives; to make provision for the purposes of the detection, investigation and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing and for the purposes of implementing Standards published by the Financial Action Task Force relating to combating threats to the integrity of the international financial system; and for connected purposes.”

Gavin Irwin provided an analysis of the current UK financial sanctions regime, and the likely content of the Bill, in an article on 10th October 2017.

When brought into force, the Act will still have to be considered in tandem with Part 8 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017, as amended – it is not consolidating legislation.

The content of the Bill, as published, confirms much of that which has been predicted.  A more detailed analysis will be provided over the coming days, however, in the meantime, the key features of the Bill are as follows:

  •  the Bill provides a whole new system for the implementation and enforcement of sanctions in the United Kingdom
  •  Part 1 deals with ‘Sanctions’
  •  Chapter 1 provides the government with the power to make Financial, Immigration, Trade, Aircraft, Shipping and ‘Other sanctions for purposes of UN obligations’ in order to comply with UNSC obligations or: to further the prevention of terrorism, in the United Kingdom or elsewhere; in the interests of national security; in the interests of international peace and security; in furtherance of a foreign policy objective of the government of the United Kingdom.
  •  Chapter 2 provides a designated person or entity with a mechanism to review their listing, by an ‘appropriate minister’, and for periodic reviews of listings in any event.  It also provides for the introduction of regulations for exempting and licensing persons from sanctions prohibitions.  Perhaps importantly, the Bill states that regulations ‘may not create an offence punishable with imprisonment for a period exceeding 10 years’.  That will not instantly increase the current 7 year maximum but may be statement of intent.
  •  Chapter 3 provides for temporary powers in relation to EU sanctions lists – effectively, rapidly to designate in the UK those already designated by the EU, to deal with the post-Brexit status of EU regulations in the UK.
  •  Chapter 4 provides a designated person with a mechanism for the review of a ministerial decision by the High Court.  Procedure Rules will be published mirroring those deployed under sections 66 to 68 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.
  •  Part 2, comprised of a single section, deals with ‘Anti-Money Laundering’, and provides that an appropriate minister may make regulations for the detection, investigation or prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing (as defined in section 340(11) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and various terrorism legislation).  The purpose is to provide a statutory basis for amendments to the Money Laundering Regulations 2017, derived from 4MLD, and to any further such regulations, post-Brexit.
  •  Part 3 is entitled ‘General’ and provides the parliamentary procedure for the making of regulations alongside transitory provisions, consequential amendments and appeals and definitions.

As the Bill progresses to a second reading on 1st November, and beyond, Gavin will chart developments and provide more detailed analysis.

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