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UK business slapped with £1 Million Fine for violating Russian Sanctions

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

In a recent development, a prominent UK company is facing a substantial fine of £1 million imposed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The fine is a consequence of engaging in unlicensed trade activities that contravened the Russian (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, as highlighted in a recent Notice to Exporters.

Explaining the gravity of the situation, HMRC emphasised that the fine was a direct response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The UK has undertaken an unparalleled series of sanctions designed to undermine funding for Putin's military efforts, inflict significant economic costs, and demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine.

To date, the UK has imposed sanctions on more than 1600 individuals and entities, including 29 banks holding global assets valued at £1 trillion, 129 oligarchs with a combined net worth exceeding £145 billion, and a staggering 96% of UK–Russia trade, totalling over £20 billion.

HMRC underlined that non-compliance with these sanctions is a grave offense, subject to severe penalties or even criminal prosecution.

This marks the second instance this year in which the UK Government has announced penalties for violations of export controls. In February, HMRC disclosed fines exceeding £3 million relating to unlicensed exports of military goods and dual-use items regulated by the Export Control Order 2008.

As part of its commitment to maintaining international efforts to ensure the effectiveness of sanctions, the Government reaffirmed its dedication to collaborating with UK businesses to ensure strict compliance with all sanctions measures.

Are you exporting or thinking of exporting to Russia but unsure about whether your goods require a license or compliance? Are you in need of expert guidance in the mined field of export licenses?

The Chamber offers a comprehensive array of export control and license services, both in Manchester and beyond, available for face-to-face or virtual consultations:

  • In-house and Bespoke Export Control Compliance Training: We provide tailored training, whether in-house or virtually, covering topics ranging from general compliance to specific business processes and procedures.

  • Export Control Audit: Our team conducts internal business audits to assess your Business Management System's compliance with export control regulations. This can be part of your annual BMS audit schedule or in preparation for an Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) visit/audit.

  • Export Control Managed Service: Acting as your trusted partner, we serve as the central point for all licensing activities, ensuring alignment with your internal business processes and export control regulations.

  • Product Codification: We audit and codify your products against the UK Export Control List, ensuring accurate definitions and understanding of licensing requirements. This typically includes an initial site visit for a comprehensive product assessment.

  • License Application: We act on your behalf to ensure timely and accurate license applications, ensuring a seamless export process. These services can often be conducted remotely, especially if a prior product codification visit has been completed.

  • SPIRE Set up and Management: We facilitate the setup of an HMRC SPIRE Account on your behalf and, if needed, provide ongoing account management to ensure efficient license management through the HMRC system. This can be accomplished remotely, depending on your IT requirements.

  • ECJU Visit Representation: We offer representation services during an ECJU Audit, typically recommended when one or more of the above services have been availed.

For more detailed information on any of the services listed above or to discuss your specific requirements, please don't hesitate to contact our expert team at We're here to assist you in navigating the complexities of export control and licensing with confidence.

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