CRA Blog

Five individuals charged under new UK sanctions regime

September 17, 2021

What happened:

On July 22, 2021, the UK announced that it had sanctioned five individuals from Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Iraq under a new sanctions regime, announced in April 2021. Among those sanctioned is Teodoro Obiang Mangue, the son of Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who was appointed a government minister in 1998. Similar to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the new sanctions regime allows the UK government to impose asset freezes and travel bans on individuals and entities determined to have committed, or to have been involved in, serious corruption.

RIA’s take:

Reporting around these sanctions has been focused on some of the more compelling details, like Teodoro Obiang Mangue’s collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia, which is said to include a $275,000 crystal-covered glove. But other details are important to note:

  • This is the second time in three months that these anti-corruption sanctions have been implemented; in April 2021, 22 individuals were targeted with asset freezes and travel bans.
  • These included 14 Russians involved in a massive tax fraud and three brothers involved in corruption in South Africa.
  • This indicates an increasing willingness by the UK to dedicate resources to these investigations and could mean more announcements in the future.

Why it matters:

This news underscores the importance of understanding and keeping up to date with global sanctions regimes. It also highlights the importance of performing compliance screening during the due diligence process in the interest of avoiding reputational, legal, financial, and regulatory risks. For example, in addition to screening against sanctioned lists, CRA’s risk experts can identify other persons and entities impacted by these sanctions, which can include entities owned or controlled by sanctioned individuals.