The UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill faced parliamentary scrutiny for the first time in the House of Lords (1 November). The bill aims to create powers for the UK government to implement sanctions after Brexit. At present, the UK imposes non-UN sanctions through EU laws. The legislation will enable the UK to enforce existing sanctions regimes, which currently number over 30 and include those related to DPRK, Russia and Daesh (so-called Islamic State). The proposed bill also contains additional powers to stop funding for terrorists by making it easier to freeze assets and block access to bank accounts.
At present the government must ‘reasonably believe’ that the person is, or has been, involved in terrorism, and that freezing their assets is necessary to protect the public. Under the proposed bill, the government would only need to have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect the person or group is, or has been, involved in terrorism before sanctioning them.
The proposed bill also includes provision for an annual review of sanctions regimes to check they are still appropriate, and scope for sanctioned individuals or entities to challenge their designation. It also enables the government to issue exemptions when needed – for example, in delivering humanitarian aid to countries affected by sanctions.
The bill was first introduced into the House of Lords on 18 October. If the bill has support, it will then move to committee stage.
A copy of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill can be found here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0069/18069.pdf