Solicitors urged to check frozen asset list

Posted On: 
1st September 2017

Solicitors have been urged to check the HM Treasury frozen assets review to make sure they are not holding monies belonging to a client that is subject to financial sanctions.

The review will be published on Monday (4 September). Any professional who discovers they are holding assets belonging to someone listed in the review should report this to the Treasury. Checks needs to be made by Friday 13 October 2017, with reports sent to the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI).

The request to check clients comes hot on the heels of the Treasury's European Union Financial Sanctions Regulations 2017, which meant solicitors are now among those businesses that could face enforcement action if they fail to report information that could undermine UK financial sanctions.

Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director, Policy, said: "Increasingly, solicitors are being asked to make sure they are not helping anyone with dubious funding streams - being 'professional enablers'. This risk exists for every single solicitor and law firm, whether conveyancing on the high street or handling global transactions, and each should be thinking about their responsibilities for tackling these issues.

"We would urge all of you to look at the review when it is published and, if a client is listed and you hold any of their assets, make a report as necessary. The publication of this list, the new financial sanctions regulations and the approaching Financial Action Task Force inspection are further reminders of the importance the UK and global community places on tackling terrorist financing."

The OFSI website can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-financial-sanctions-implementation

The Treasury has provided an example of what the Annual Review involves, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-frozen-asset-review-and-reporting-form