Solicitors Face Growing Sanctions Risks in Advising High Net Worth Individuals

March 28, 2024

Jonathan Fisher KC has highlighted the growing concerns surrounding sanctions risks, particularly for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and their legal advisors in an opinion piece published by EPrivateClient.

In the article, Jonathan examines the looming threat of imprisonment, up to seven years, for contravening sanctions which has led solicitors to tread cautiously in advising their clients. The insertion of a criminal provision, known as “the circumvention offence,” in most sanctions regulations further complicates matters.

This offence applies broadly to anyone involved in activities intentionally aimed at circumventing sanctions prohibitions.

Jonathan summarises that the low threshold for establishing mental awareness in prosecutions adds to the complexity, as solicitors advising clients on structuring transactions to avoid breaching sanctions could inadvertently find themselves implicated.

He reports that The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Solicitors Regulation Authority have issued warnings, urging solicitors to remain vigilant and take preventive action to mitigate risks. The stringent liability of the sanctions regime applies not only to clients but also to counterparties and third parties, amplifying the need for caution in advising HNWIs. Consequently, some solicitors may opt for cautious advice, particularly when dealing with transactions involving designated persons.

Read piece here in EPrivateClient: [EPrivateClient]

Jonathan Fisher KC is ranked as a leading barrister, with extensive experience in civil, criminal and regulatory cases. Jonathan has particular expertise in the areas of Bribery & Corruption, Sanctions, Financial Services Regulation, Fraud, Money Laundering & Proceeds of Crime, and Tax & Insolvency disputes. More info: [Jonathan Fisher KC Profile]