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On 21 February 2019, the FCA fined two asset management firms for breach of competition law.  No fine was imposed on the other asset management firm, Newton Investment Management Limited (Newton), as it had been given immunity under the competition leniency programme.  This decision followed the FCA’s announcement on 4 February 2019 that it had fined Paul Stephany, a former fund manager at Newton, £32,200 for his conduct in relation to an Initial Public Offering…
On 18 February 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office and FCA published an updated memorandum of understanding setting out the terms of the relationship between them, including the exchange of information in relation to potential failures of systems and controls in relation to data security and related investigations. The MOU comes in the context of the FCA’s increased focus on and enforcement of data protection and cyber security issues and follows the ICO and FCA’s…
On 21 January 2019, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, issued a £5,000 fine against R. Raphael Bank & Sons plc, trading as Raphaels Bank, for dealing with £200 belonging to an unidentified designated person in violation of EU sanctions against Egypt (implemented in the UK under the Egypt (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011). This is the first civil monetary penalty imposed by OFSI using its new powers under Part 8 of…
A US-based cosmetics company, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. (ELF), has reached a USD 996,080 settlement with the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for importing 156 shipments of false eyelash kits containing materials sourced from North Korea in apparent violation of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations. The materials were supplied by two of ELF’s China-based suppliers between 2012 and 2017.  During this period,  ELF’s sanctions compliance program was deemed by OFAC to be either non-existent…
In a joint statement on 31 January 2019, France, Germany and the UK (together, E3) announced the creation of a payment channel SPV (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, INSTEX) to offer European companies a settlement option in relation to their Iranian business activities. INSTEX aims to facilitate legitimate trade between European companies and Iran, focusing initially on sectors such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods. INSTEX forms part of the EU’s response to…
The FCA has finalised its review of how firms have implemented its whistleblowing rules, which became effective from September 2016 (the Rules). A copy of the review can be found here. The review, which focused on a range of retail and wholesale banks, found that the Rules had helped to ensure that firms implemented whistleblowing arrangements and were managing concerns raised by employees in a fair and consistent way. However, in addition to outlining…
In a judgment recently handed down by the High Court (available here), it was held that the defendant  insurance companies were liable to pay an insurance claim under a marine insurance contract relating to the theft of certain cargo shipments when in Iran, provided such payment be made before the re-imposition of applicable US secondary sanctions. In brief, the key points at issue were: (1) the proper interpretation of a sanctions clause in the…
In a judgment recently published by the High Court (available here), a claimant has been granted the right to inspect suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by his bank. The Court made the order in interlocutory proceedings brought in the course of an individual’s claim against his bank for breach of contract, breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and defamation. The claim arose after the bank froze the individual’s accounts and filed SARs. The…
We have published a briefing analysing the key proposals in the Law Commission’s consultation on the SARs regime. The link can be found here: http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/publications/169657/the-law-commission-consultation-on-reforming-the-sars-regime-key-takeaways-for-the-financial-sector    …
The Upper Tribunal has upheld the FCA’s decision to prohibit Arif Hussein, a former trader, on the basis that he failed to be candid and truthful during the enforcement process. In the decision, the Tribunal was critical of the FCA’s focus on the relatively junior trader, who was put under investigation in relation to a limited number of chats which took place over a short period when there was widespread manipulation of LIBOR within the…