Naming and shaming? Fair approach? Expert views mixed on OFSI’s Wise Payments case

Wise Payments

The recent decision by a U.K. regulator to disclose details of how a payments firm failed to stop an individual from obtaining cash while subject to Russian sanctions has ignited debate about whether the agency is taking the right enforcement approach.

Under the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, the U.K.’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) gained a “disclosure enforcement power” allowing it to publish details of financial sanctions breaches—including the person/entity who committed the breaches—in cases where it decided the occurrence of noncompliance was not serious enough to justify a civil penalty.

On Aug. 31, OFSI used this power for the first time to provide details of a “moderately severe” breach—the withdrawal of just 250 pounds (U.S. $305) from a business account with Wise Payments held by a company owned or controlled by a person designated under Russian sanctions.

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