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OFSI fines for sanctions breach by phone call facilitation

OFSI has fined a phone carrier company for indirectly facilitating phone calls to an entity designated under the Syrian sanctions regime. Telia Carrier UK Limited indirectly facilitated the calls to SyriaTel, which resulted in it repeatedly making funds and economic resources available to the designated entity.

OFSI was satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Telia knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that they were in breach of prohibitions under sanctions legislation. The decision went to Ministerial Review but the penalty, originally £300,000 was reduced to just under £150,000 because further evidence showed the assessed value of the breaches to be around half the amount originally thought.

OFSI comments that the case shows that “economic resources” covers a wide variety of tangible and intangible resources and can be provided directly or indirectly, and that companies must be able to recognise when they are in breach of the regulations and take immediate action to stop their activity and report it to OFSI.

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Emma Radmore