Russian Sanctions (February 2023)

Thank you for contacting me about sanctions implementation.

The war in Ukraine is a barbaric, illegal incursion into a sovereign nation by another. It has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, mass displacement and an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

In relation to reports regarding Yevgeny Prigozhin, it is a long-standing custom that the Government does not comment publicly on individual cases and I therefore do not think it would be appropriate for me to comment either.

It may be useful to set out general guidance on how the sanctions regime operates. The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) oversees the implementation of sanctions.  Within the sanctions regime broadly, because everyone has a right to legal representation, it is possible for frozen assets to be used to pay for that legal representation. OFSI grants licences to allow sanctioned people to cover their own legal fees, provided that the costs are reasonable.

Decisions on the issuance of licences for legal fees are largely taken by OFSI officials in line with standard practice. The principles and guidance for assessing these applications are long-standing and have been published for a number of years. Applications are assessed solely on a cost basis.

In light of recent cases, I know that the Treasury is now considering whether this approach is the right one and whether changes can be made without the Treasury assuming unacceptable legal risk, while ensuring that we adhere to the rule of law. Ministers have pledged to update Parliament in due course and I will be sure to continue following this matter closely.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Yours sincerely, 


Sally-Ann Hart MP