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Solicitors urged to check frozen asset list

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.

HM Treasury has published its annual frozen assets review. Anyone who is holding frozen assets has until Friday 12 October 2018 to submit a report to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI).

Sanctions are an important foreign policy and national security tool and solicitors should be aware of their ongoing responsibilities. The profession needs to comply with financial sanctions in place in the UK and to report frozen assets and other relevant information to OFSI immediately.

Crispin Passmore, SRA Executive Director, said: “Solicitors are rightly being asked to make sure they are not helping anyone with dubious funding streams – becoming ‘professional enablers’. This risk exists for every single solicitor and law firm, whether conveyancing on the high street or handling global transactions.

“We would urge all of you to look at the review and, if a client is listed and you hold any of their assets, make a report as necessary.”

The OFSI website can be found here:

The Treasury has provided an example of what the Annual Review involves, which can be found here:

More information on financial sanctions can be found in OFSI’s guide

Anyone who submitted a report last year and no longer hold the assets will need to submit a “nil return”.