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UK Establishes Enforcement Unit to Bolster Crackdown on Russian Sanctions Violations

The British government has announced the creation of a new enforcement unit, the Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation (OTSI), aimed at enhancing its capabilities to combat companies evading Russian sanctions. The OTSI will be tasked with the civil enforcement of trade sanctions, investigating potential violations, imposing penalties, and referring cases for criminal enforcement. This move is part of a broader strategy to curtail any attempts to circumvent sanctions against Russia.

Russian Sanctions Violations

The Department for Business and Trade outlined that the unit, set to launch early next year, will collaborate with the existing Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation. The OTSI's mandate includes assisting businesses in complying with sanctions. Importantly, it will address activities by any UK national or UK-registered company attempting to evade sanctions by routing products through other countries.

Britain's Industry and Economic Security Minister, Nusrat Ghani, emphasized the government's commitment to thwarting Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions, stating, "We are leaving no stone unturned in our commitment to stopping Putin’s war machine." The establishment of the OTSI aims to strengthen measures against sanctions evaders and hinder Russia's access to technologies and revenues necessary for its alleged illegal invasion.


Ghani added, "Today’s announcement will help us do that, and send a clear message to those breaking the rules that there is nowhere to hide." Last week, the UK issued a warning about Russia's efforts to bypass sanctions and introduced 46 new measures against individuals and groups linked to Russia's military supply chains, including businesses operating in China, Turkey, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, and Uzbekistan.

The UK highlighted that £20 billion ($25.07 billion) worth of UK-Russia goods trade has been sanctioned, with imports from Russia plummeting by 94% in the year leading up to February 2023 compared to the previous year. The establishment of the OTSI underscores the UK's determination to enforce sanctions rigorously and prevent any illicit activities that might undermine these measures.



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