A new commencement order under the Policing and Crime Act 2017 brings into force the new powers on financial penalties for breach of financial sanctions, from 1 April. Part 8 of the Act:
- sets the maximum imprisonment term for breach of sanctions at 7 years, and confirms the maximum imprisonment term for related offences;
- allows Treasury to impose monetary penalties if it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that a person has breached a prohibition or failed to comply with an obligation under financial sanctions legislation and knew, or had reasonable cause to suspect, that they had done so. In principle the maximum penalty is £1 million, but where it is possible to estimate the value of the funds or economic resources involved, it can be 50% of this amount if that is greater; and
- allows Treasury to make domestic legislation to bring into force UN financial sanctions while waiting for the relevant EU Regulation to take effect.
The Act sets out the procedure Treasury must follow when imposing the penalty, and the rights of the offender to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, and obliges it to issue guidance on when it may impose penalties. It also provides for Treasury to impose a penalty on individual officers, if the breach took place with their connivance, consent or was attributable to their neglect.
Breach of financial sanctions may also be addressed under a DPA where appropriate.