The UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), the body tasked by the UK Treasury to administer and enforce financial sanctions in the UK, has issued its biggest monetary penalty to date, against the UK arm of an international telecommunications company for breaching sanctions imposed on a Syrian entity. The £146,341 monetary penalty was issued against Telia Carrier UK Limited, which is said to have ‘indirectly facilitated international telephone calls to SyriaTel’, an entity subject to EU sanctions under the Syria (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2012.
This is only the third fine imposed by OFSI since the office was established in April 2016. The previous two fines, imposed earlier this year against Raphaels Bank (£5,000) and Travelex (£10,000), respectively, pale in significance. None of the three fines begins to compare to the enforcement activity of the well-established and longer functioning U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which has imposed a total of £1.2 billion in fines in 2019 alone.