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Sanctions Update: UK enforcement, international regulator collaboration and further restrictive measures taken in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine

This update provides a brief overview of some notable events that have occurred in recent weeks, including the UK Government's increasing ability to target activities considered to be problematic from a circumventing Russian sanctions perspective.

New EU Proposed Regulation seeks to ban products made using forced labour

The EU recently revealed its proposal for a new Regulation to combat the use of forced labour in the production of goods. A key aim of this new Regulation is that it will be used alongside other initiatives within both the EU and externally, in order to further eliminate modern day slavery from supply chains.

Release of the white elephant? Court of Appeal opens the door to £5bn multi-jurisdictional group litigation

On 8 July 2022, the Court of Appeal handed down its long-awaited judgment in the Municipio De Mariana group litigation claim, granting permission for some 200,000 Brazilian claimants to pursue in the UK their group action for damages caused by the collapse of the Fundão Dam in Brazil in 2015.

The ever-expanding world of corporate sustainability reporting

The EU continues to beat a path to a more sustainable future. Nothing too new there, perhaps, but it is increasingly determined to bring the rest of the world along with it. It first proposed a directive on corporate sustainability reporting ("CSRD") in February 2021, which when proposed caused a stir for the significant expansion of non-financial information obligations on non-listed corporates. 

Sanctions Update: UK's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation sets out new enforcement guidance in advance of enhanced powers coming into force

On 15 March 2022, the UK's new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act (the "ECA") received Royal Assent. The legislation contained a number of important provisions, including the introduction of a new 'Register of Overseas Entities' and reforms to unexplained wealth orders.

Glencore guilty pleas to offer welcome relief for SFO

Glencore has indicated that it will plead guilty to seven counts of bribery in connection with its oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and South Sudan. The Serious Fraud Office opened its investigation into Glencore's activities in 2019 and alleges that the commodities giant approved the payment of over $25m in bribes for preferential access to oil.

ESG Newsletter - Spring 2022

ESG and sustainability issues continue to be a priority for policy makers and regulators globally. The impact of the Ukraine conflict on energy policy and the recent publication of the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) "state of the union" report on the slender window we have to take action in order to meet our climate targets both highlight the scale of the global challenge we face on climate issues.

Sanctions Update: Further measures taken by UK, EU and US in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including the UK's new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act

On 15 March 2022, the UK's new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act (the "ECA") received Royal Assent. The legislation contains a number of important provisions, including the introduction of a new 'Register of Overseas Entities' and reforms to unexplained wealth orders.

Sanctions Update: UK, US and EU set to impose first round of new sanctions on Russia in response to escalation of Ukrainian crisis, while Germany blocks Nord Stream 2 certification

During the build-up of Russian military forces on the borders of Ukraine over the course of recent months, the UK and other countries have issued firm statements that any further incursion by Russia into Ukraine would result in additional economic sanctions on Russian entities and individuals. Today, following Russia's recognition of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine as independent (and the corresponding movement of Russian forces into these regions), a number of new sanctions and other restrictions have been imposed – with further measures likely to follow depending on Russia's actions over the coming days and weeks.

Business & Human Rights: Proposals for a New 'Failure to Prevent' Regime

The UK's Corporate Justice Coalition ("CJC"), an organisation made up of various UK and international Civil Society Organisations ("CSOs") including Anti-Slavery International, Friends of the Earth and Business Human Rights Resource Centre has recently recommended the implementation of a potentially wide-reaching corporate "failure to prevent" regime targeting negative human rights and environmental impacts. Such a regime would track similar EU proposals relating to the diligence of 'value chains' for ESG failings and malpractice.

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