The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020
Finally the Magnitski Act makes it to the British Isles

On 6th July the United Kingdom brought into force the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations, 2020. In Guernsey, this is implemented under the Guernsey Sanctions framework. I wanted to celebrate this as I personally have supported this from the beginning as this is the UK equivalent of the Magnitski Act in the US.

If you read one book this year, read 'Red Notice' by Bill Browder. If you have any Russian clientele it should be compulsory that you read this book!

Some years ago I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Bill Browder, in rather an unusual context, as I was presented with this prospective client who was subject to an Interpol Red Notice. It is very unusual that an MLRO meets a prospective client, let alone one who was subject to an international arrest warrant. I was also aware that Special Branch would have been all over his entry into Guernsey, so it was clear that no-one except Russia gave two hoots about the Interpol Red Notice. 

I was presented with two personal reference letters, the first from Tony Bair and the second from Bill Clinton. Being a dutiful compliance officer I thought, oh crap how to I corroborate these documents. So I gratefully accepted them under the condition that it changes the position, not one iota, and only in the notes of the meeting.

To be fair, I knew about Hermitage Capital and the interesting situation with the corruption in Gazprom, I knew a great deal about the situation and dealt with one of the subjects mentioned in the book. I was already in awe of Bill. Just how did this mild-mannered accountant strike fear into the hearts of Oligarchs and the Kremlin?  Also, how on earth did he break into the corrupt trough, that the post-communist state asset disposal created, and still be alive?

I confess that I am a massive fan. How one man's challenge to change the world's approach to dealing with human rights abuses by individuals, was no longer to be tolerated. For once a Sanctions tool that was not a political weapon. I hope for the good of humanity that this and the Magnitski Act preserve this apolitical position.

The Regulations

There are 47 entries and these boil down two 3 specific events and the individuals involved. 

1) Individuals involved in the death of Sergi Magnistski
2) Individuals involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi
3) The entity responsible for running the DPRK's political prison camps, MSS Bureau 7.  These violations include murder, torture, and enslavement.

The Magnitsky Act, formally known as the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012, is a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2012, intending to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009 and also to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia.

There are rules for interpretation that on the first view are not as high as the local beneficial ownership rules, however, there are tests in there that would apply in the event that could apply to your client or the connectivity to your client.    

Do remember that the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2018 has an extraterritorial application, which confers further powers on the FCA and HMRC on evidence gathering powers:-

Extra-territorial application
22(1)Regulations under section 49 may impose requirements in relation to conduct outside the United Kingdom by a United Kingdom person.
    (2) In sub-paragraph (1) “United Kingdom person” means—
        (a) a United Kingdom national,
        (b) a body incorporated or constituted under the law of any part of the United Kingdom, or
        (c)a body within paragraph (3) or (4) of regulation 9 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 (bodies to be regarded for the purposes of those Regulations as carrying on business in the United Kingdom), as that regulation has effect immediately before it is saved by section 2 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

    (3)For this purpose a United Kingdom national is an individual who is—
        (a)a British citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen,
        (b)a person who under the British Nationality Act 1981 is a British subject, or
        (c)a British protected person within the meaning of that Act.
    (4)In this paragraph “conduct” includes acts and omissions.

To be fair there are many other mechanisms that can compel the disclosure of evidence in Guernsey without recourse to the law officers such as the Disclosures Law, Section 11(A),5 of which the FCA and HMRC already have access to compel disclosure.

Finally, I am available to provide training and guidance, with a practical and pragmatic approach. Please feel free to contact me.

Hayden Morgan


The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020
Hayden Morgan
12 July, 2020
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