A staggering 127 companies in the UK have admitted that they are breaching British sanctions against Russia.
Official data shows that the businesses voluntarily disclosed their sanctions violations to the UK government earlier this year.
The Financial Times reported that by voluntarily admitting their breaches, companies can reduce penalties by the government.
Since the war in Ukraine began, the UK has placed around 1,600 companies and individuals under sanctions.
Included in these sanctions is a moratorium on UK businesses dealing with companies under sanctions.
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Speaking to the FT, financial crime partner Stacy Keen said the sanctions had been a big test for British businesses.
They explained: “The Russian sanction packages have been felt more keenly outside of Russia in a heightened way that others just haven’t in the past.
“Russian individuals and entities had a footprint outside of Russia that perhaps if you look at the Iranian regime or the Syrian regime.”
Following the admission of the breaches, there are several penalties British companies could face.
These vary from criminal prosecution to no action, from a civil penalty to a warning letter. Financial penalties in these cases have no cap.
What’s more, the war in Ukraine has revealed just how intertwined some Russian entities and British businesses are.
Last year, Chelsea FC faced significant jeopardy when its then-owner, oligarch Roman Abramovich, was placed under sanctions.
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In recent weeks, the UK announced it was intensifying its sanctions against Russia in response to sham elections in the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk, and Crimea.
In a statement, Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said: “Russia’s sham elections are a transparent, futile attempt to legitimise its illegal control of sovereign Ukrainian territory.
“You can’t hold ‘elections’ in someone else’s country. The UK will never recognise Russia’s claims to Ukrainian territory – Crimea, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson are Ukraine.”
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