Print Article

127 UK companies admit to breaching British sanctions against Russia since Feb 2022


A total of 127 companies had voluntarily disclosed sanctions violations to the UK government as of May 17, according to a freedom of information request submitted to HM Treasury by Pinsent Masons

The UK has placed more than 1,600 individuals and companies [including two dozen banks and more than 100 oligarchs] under sanctions since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Issues around a lack of transparency over the ultimate beneficial owners and controllers of companies, as well as Russian shareholders that may sit behind companies, can make it harder for UK companies to ensure they have not breached sanctions.

Stacy Keen, financial crime partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, which made the FOI request, said:-

  • The sanctions’ breadth had created a big test for British business, given how much more integrated Russia was with the global economy compared with other regimes under sanctions, such as Iran and North Korea.
  • 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 — there just wasn’t those interlinks between the economies
  • Business should consider admitting breaches to ensure the greatest leniency,
  • Sanctions penalties can range from no action or a warning letter, to a civil penalty or criminal prosecution. Financial penalties have no cap.

HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation is responsible for monitoring breaches. And by voluntarily admitting breaches and co-operating with investigations, businesses can reduce government penalties.

A person close to the OFSI said the unit was “not trying to unduly penalise honest mistakes” and takes into account relevant efforts and checks made as potential mitigating factors when assessing a breach.



The Team

Meet the team of industry experts behind Comsure

Find out more

Latest News

Keep up to date with the very latest news from Comsure

Find out more


View our latest imagery from our news and work

Find out more


Think we can help you and your business? Chat to us today

Get In Touch

News Disclaimer

As well as owning and publishing Comsure's copyrighted works, Comsure wishes to use the copyright-protected works of others. To do so, Comsure is applying for exemptions in the UK copyright law. There are certain very specific situations where Comsure is permitted to do so without seeking permission from the owner. These exemptions are in the copyright sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended)[]. Many situations allow for Comsure to apply for exemptions. These include 1] Non-commercial research and private study, 2] Criticism, review and reporting of current events, 3] the copying of works in any medium as long as the use is to illustrate a point. 4] no posting is for commercial purposes [payment]. (for a full list of exemptions, please read here]. Concerning the exceptions, Comsure will acknowledge the work of the source author by providing a link to the source material. Comsure claims no ownership of non-Comsure content. The non-Comsure articles posted on the Comsure website are deemed important, relevant, and newsworthy to a Comsure audience (e.g. regulated financial services and professional firms [DNFSBs]). Comsure does not wish to take any credit for the publication, and the publication can be read in full in its original form if you click the articles link that always accompanies the news item. Also, Comsure does not seek any payment for highlighting these important articles. If you want any article removed, Comsure will automatically do so on a reasonable request if you email