UK establishes the Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation to enforce trade sanctions
On 11 December 2023, the UK Government established the Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation (OTSI) to enhance measures against companies evading Russian sanctions.
The focus of the unit, part of the Department for Business and Trade, is to enhance the enforcement capabilities, impose penalties and take civil enforcement for sanctions breaches, and refer cases for criminal enforcement to HM Revenue & Customs. A key objective for OTSI will be to investigate and scrutinise companies perceived to be circumventing trade sanctions, particularly by routing products through other countries.
The announcement coincides with the new sanctions targeting items found on the Ukrainian battlefield, as well as enhancements in trade sanctions measures. See our recent blog post on this here.
OTSI is set to launch in early 2024, reinforcing the UK government's efforts to uphold UK trade sanctions.
While OTSI has no standing in the UK Overseas Territories such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands, it is expected that the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will liaise with staff of OTSI for the purposes of ensuring consistency in trade sanctions enforcement in the territories, where appropriate.
The official press release can be found here.