Netherlands – Supreme Court upholds conviction and custodial sentence for ISIS sanctions violation

Further to our earlier post, in late 2021 the Dutch Court of Appeal sentenced an individual to a six month custodial prison term for a number of offences including for making a payment in breach of the EU’s ISIS sanctions.

The Dutch Supreme Court has upheld the convictions for terrorist financing and breaching the Dutch Sanctiewet 1977, but remanded the conviction for money laundering to the Court of Appeal.

The facts relate to the transfer of €471 from an individual to his brother who was in Syria as part of ISIS. The defence sought to argue that the man did not have the required intent to support terrorism, or knowledge that the funds had benefitted ISIS.

As held by the Supreme Court at [2.9]:

“With regard to the violation of the provision of Article 2 of the Sanctions Act 1977, the offense proven under 2, the suspect’s intent does not have to be aimed at non-compliance with the legal regulations referred to in the finding of proof. The suspect’s intention must be aimed at ensuring that the money ends up indirectly with (a) terrorist organization”.

 

Denmark – investigation closes into alleged import of fuel from partly Russian-owned refinery in India

Further to our earlier post regarding an investigation by the Danish Business Authority into allegations that the Danish shipping company Hafnia, was importing refined fuels from a refinery in India that may have been owned or controlled by Rosneft (which is a designated person under the EU’s sanctions), it is now being reported (here – behind a paywall), that the Danish Business Authority has concluded its investigation having determined that it could not establish that there had been a breach of Russian sanctions.

As yet the Danish Business Authority has not issued a statement on its website.

Cyprus – enforcement update including first two sanctions cases referred for prosecution

It is being reported in Cyprus that two cases have been referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for instituting criminal proceedings. No other information was published on these matters.

In addition, yesterday the Economic Crime Investigation Unit provided updates to the Law Office on the progress with 10 of their ongoing cases, including (as we have previously noted) the investigation into asset transfers allegedly in breach of the EU’s sanctions by Alexei Mordashov.

 

Estonia – charges against individuals for alleged Russian sanctions breaches

Further to our earlier post, it is being reported that Estonia’s Office of the Prosecutor General has laid charges against Mati-Dmitri Terestal and Elena Cherysheva on suspicion of breaching the EU’s Russian sanctions.

It is alleged that the defendants received €500,000 funds from a designated person, and made economic resources (in the form of their services) available to a designated person – namely Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director General of Rossiya Segodnya which operated in Estonia as Sputnik.

Netherlands – investigation as to whether a designated person owns/controls football club

It is being reported in the UK and in the Netherlands, that the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is investigating whether Roman Abramovich owns or controls the football club Vitesse Arnhem. The allegation of ownership or control is based on a series of financial arrangements and loans.

While those arrangement pre-date the sanctions, if the club was indeed owned or controlled by a designated person its operations since the designation are likely to have been conducted in breach of the asset freeze.

United Kingdom – OFSI has ongoing oil price cap investigations

As part of its evidence to the UK Parliament HM Treasury (of which OFSI is a part) has provided the first indications that it has ongoing investigations into possible breaches of the oil price cap.

HM Treasury stated:

OFSI takes a proactive enforcement approach and is currently undertaking a number of investigations into suspected breaches of the oil price cap, using powers under SAMLA to request information and working closely with international partners in the G7+ coalition. Although OFSI cannot discuss or comment on individual cases, OFSI is able to launch investigations based on
suspected breach reports shared with us, intelligence capabilities, and other reporting“.

HM Treasury also repeated the statistic from its Annual Report that as of April 2023 it had 172 cases under live investigation (no update covering the intervening 13 months was provided), and confirmed an earlier ministerial answer that the first fines for breaches of post-2022 Russian sanctions are expected this year.

Switzerland – publishing the 10 fines for breaching Russian and Belarusian sanctions imposed by SECO: an introduction

Today we start a series of posts in which we will be publishing anonymized versions of the ten final administrative criminal decisions issued by SECO as part of proceedings for breaching Russian, and Belarusian, sanctions in Switzerland.

The details of these proceedings, the conduct giving rise to the fines, the process of the investigations, and the level of the fines are all not otherwise public.

These anonymized final decisions have been obtained through a Freedom of Information request to SECO, and SECO has confirmed that these anonymized versions may be published or otherwise made available.

The blog is grateful for SECO’s assistance.

We will publish the first three decisions today, three more on Monday and the final four on Tuesday of next week.

As well as the final decisions themselves (some of which are in German and some in French), we will be publishing machine translations into English for convenience. We make no representation as to the accuracy of these translations. The blacked-out redacted text in the originals is shown as “REDACTED” in the translations.

Estonia – bank to contest FIU’s €300,000 fine for breaching sanctions

LHV Pank in Estonia has today issued a press release to say that it intends to challenge a fine of €300,000 imposed on it by the FIU for breaching EU sanctions.

According to the press release the fines were imposed in relation to three incidents (two in 2022 and one in 2023) where the bank is accused of insufficiently rigorous due diligence and of permitting a transaction in breach of sanctions.

The press release does not state which sanctions regime the conduct relates to.

The bank says it takes regulatory compliance seriously and will challenge the fine in court.

Malta – first published fine imposed by Sanctions Monitoring Board

Malta’s Sanctions Monitoring Board (the “SMB”) has, for the first time , imposed a fine for breach of EU sanctions.

The company in question was ArabMillionaire Limited. The SMB publishes the names of all company’s fined more than €800, but the size of the fine is otherwise unspecified.

Also unspecified is the conduct giving rise to the fine, but it was said to have been identified “at the time of supervisory examination conducted between June and August 2020”.

It is unclear when the fine was issued as this information is not specified on the website and the Sanctions Monitoring Board has confirmed that such information is confidential.

ArabMillionaire operated as an online casino (trading as Playfooz.com) based in Dubai. It’s licence from the Malta Gaming Authority was suspended in October 2022, and then cancelled in October 2023.

It has been reported that alongside other regulatory failings part of the reason for these actions by the Malta Gaming Authority was non-compliance with money laundering and counter terrorist financing.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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