A Briefing Paper from RUSI on 11th February says that, whilst money laundering in the UK is often acknowledged as a serious threat to the country’s reputation, the integrity of its financial sector and, ultimately, its security – the basic question of how much money is laundered in the UK remains unanswered. Briefing Paper reports how policymakers and researchers can gain a better understanding of the scale of money laundering in the UK than is currently available.
On 15th February, law firm Corker Bining published an article which says that the Crime (Overseas Production Order) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on 12th February represents a dramatic step-change in cross-border criminal law enforcement. The Act, the author says, answers the question: if electronic data is stored overseas, how can a UK investigator compel its disclosure in the UK? Ministers have hailed the Overseas Production Order (OPO) as the speedy solution to the sluggishness of Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA).
On 15th February, HM Treasury confirmed the removal of 3 names from its Consolidated List of those subject to financial sanctions, with 1 other entry amended but remaining on the List.
On 15th February, the European Sanctions Blog reported that a new SI that amends the Civil Procedure Rules provides for use of the “closed material procedure” rules in hearings where someone is challenging a sanctions designation under the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018. The amendments take effect from 1st March. The Act provides a review process, including for the Secretary of State to make their best endeavours in the case of a review request from someone on a UN list (which the UK cannot unilaterally change). Reviews may also be undertaken through the courts.
The Sanctions Review Procedure (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which came into force on 9th January 2019, deal with another aspect of sanctions administration. Under the 2018 Act, all decisions to designate a person will be taken on the basis of the evidence that is held, and whether it is considered to meet the legal tests in the Act and the criteria set out in regulations made under the Act. The names of designated persons are not included in regulations, but will be held on a separate administrative list on the gov.uk website to enable immediate publication following a decision to make or amend a designation. This is seen as limiting the opportunity for designated persons to remove assets from the UK.
The Act contains a number of procedural safeguards to protect the rights of designated and affected persons – such as the right of a designated person (or a person affected by the designation of a ship) to request variation or revocation of their designation by the Secretary of State. If they have been designated on the basis of a UN measure, they can ask the Secretary of State to use his best endeavours to have the listing/designation revoked at UN level.
The Sanctions Review Procedure (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 set out the procedural detail of how these requests are to be made and how designated persons shall be notified of decisions. The purpose of the review procedure is to provide a swift means of challenge for the designated person or affected person.
 SI 2018/1269.
On 15th February, the US Treasury announced further sanctions designations targeting people close to what it calls “former President” Maduro –
- the head of the Venezuelan National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, and
- its First Commissioner, Hildemaro Jose Rodriguez Mucura;
- the Commander of Venezuela’s Directorate General of Military Counter-Intelligence, Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala;
- the Director of the Venezuelan National Police’s Special Actions Force (FAES), Rafael Enrique Bastardo Mendoza; and
- the President of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), Manuel Salvador Quevedo Fernandez.