Ruling in Mikhail Fridman, R v HM Treasury summarised
On 26 October 2023, the UK High Court of Justice dismissed Mikhail Fridman's legal challenge against the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) regarding the refusal of certain licensing requests.
Some of the key points from the judgment are:
Residual discretion: The Court affirmed OFSI's discretion to refuse a licence, even when conditions are met, emphasising that this discretion must align with the statutory purposes.
Applicant responsibility: The Court supported OFSI's position that applicants must provide all relevant information for licensing applications and it stated that OFSI is not obligated to identify gaps or act as an advisor.
Correct legal interpretation: The Court agreed with OFSI's legal interpretation regarding prior obligations, specifically prohibiting payments to designated persons, even indirectly through related entities.
Post-decision evidence: The Court ruled out post-decision evidence, stating that review proceedings should not serve as a continuous application platform.
In August 2022, OFSI issued comprehensive guidance, particularly in Chapter 6 of the General Guidance, outlining expectations for individuals and organisations when submitting licensing applications.
The full text of the Court’s reasoning can be accessed here.