Global sanctions guide

Hong Kong
  1. Does Guernsey have a sanctions regime in place? 

Yes. Guernsey’s sanctions regime is based on legislation that broadly mirrors equivalent legislation in the UK. Although the Channel Islands are dependent territories of the English Crown, they have their own legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems. As such, Guernsey operates independently of the UK regime.

  1. Does Guernsey implement UN sanctions? 

Yes. Guernsey’s sanctions legislation comprises measures taken by the UN and the EU which are given effect locally using one of the following legislative routes:

  • most commonly, by Ordinance under section 1 of the European Communities (Implementation) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1994 providing that a particular EU regulation imposing sanctions is to be treated as part of domestic law

  • in exceptional circumstances, by primary Bailiwick legislation, for example the Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2011 (which gives effect to UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) denouncing terrorism and requiring members to deny all forms of financial support for those who participate in terrorist acts, to deny the provision of safe haven, support for terrorists and to share with other governments any information about any groups practicing or planning terrorist acts)

  • by Order in Council under section 1 of the United Nations Act 1946, implementing a particular UN sanction

  • by Order under the Export Control (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2006, for a sanction relating to import and export control

  1. Does Guernsey implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 

Yes. Guernsey’s sanctions legislation gives domestic effect to measures taken by the UN and EU and broadly mirrors equivalent legislation in the UK. However, Guernsey’s sanctions regime is completely separate from and operates independently of that in other jurisdictions.

  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Guernsey? 

The Bailiwick implements all types of international sanctions including:

  • arms embargoes and bans on associated technical assistance, training and financing

  • import and export bans
  • trade restrictions
  • travel bans
  • financial sanctions (such as asset freezes and investment bans)

Guernsey’s position as a leading financial center means that financial sanctions are most likely to be relevant to businesses in the jurisdiction. Financial sanctions include prohibitions on providing financial services or making funds or other economic resources available to designated individuals or entities.

  1. Does Guernsey maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities? 

Yes. Guernsey firms must have appropriate and effective compliance arrangements in relation to sanctions. When determining whether an individual or legal person is the subject of a sanction, one must consult the consolidated list of financial sanctions targets found on the HM Treasury website:

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 

Yes. Guernsey also relies on lists published by the UN and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

  1. Does Guernsey have a licensing or authorization system in place? 

Yes. The Policy Council is (in most cases) the competent authority and licensing authority in relation to any activity that would otherwise be prohibited under Guernsey’s financial sanctions legislation. It makes ordinances under the European Communities (Implementation) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law and handles applications to release funds from frozen accounts or to make funds, economic resources or financial services available to or for the benefit of a designated person.

In respect of Orders in Council made under the United Nations Act, the Guernsey licensing authority is usually HM Procureur. Lastly, the competent authority for any import or export or licensing matters is the Home Department, through the Guernsey Border Agency.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Guernsey? 

Each Order in Council made under the Export Control legislation and Ordinance contains provisions governing criminal penalties that are specific to the enactment in question. It is the responsibility of each individual or institution to comply with the relevant legislation and failure to comply is a criminal offence. Any person guilty of an offence under the relevant enactment shall be liable on conviction to a fine and/or imprisonment.

Where a corporate is guilty of an offence, and the offence is proven to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of any officer of the corporate body(or person purporting to act in any such capacity), he is guilty of the offence (as well as the corporate body) and may be proceeded against accordingly.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Guernsey and what are their contact details?

Guernsey has established a Sanctions Committee to coordinate sanctions activities, distribute information and provide advice. The Sanctions Committee reports to the External Relations Group (mandated to agree and implement new sanctions, license frozen funds, administer notifications and authorizations and liaise with HM Treasury and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) of the Policy Council (being the body which coordinates the work of the Government of Guernsey) and the Bailiwick’s AML/CFT Advisory Committee.

The Sanctions Committee is made up of members from the Policy Council, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (statutory body responsible for the development and supervision of finance business in the Bailiwick) and the Guernsey Border Agency (which has enforcement responsibility and conducts administration of sanctions in relation to the import and export of goods).

States of Guernsey
Sir Charles Frossard House
La Charroterie
St Peter Port

T: (+44) 1481 717000

Guernsey Financial Services Commission
PO Box 128
Glategny Court, Glategny
Esplanade, St Peter Port
Guernsey, GY1 3HQ

T: (+44) 1481 712706
F: (+44) 1481 712010

Cross border financial crime activities are the responsibility of the Guernsey Border Agency which mandates the Financial Investigation Unit to prevent and combat financial and economic crime. The Guernsey Border Agency is required to protect Guernsey’s reputation as a well-regulated offshore financial center. It must align its activities to complement FATF recommendations, the requirements of the IMF and other relevant international standard setters.

Financial Investigation Unit
Ozanne Hall
Mignot Plateau
Cornet Street
St Peter Port

T: (+44) 1481 714081
F: (+44) 1481 710466

Contributor law firm

Mark Holligon, Appleby, 33-37 Athol Street, Douglas, IM1 1LB

T: (+44) 1624 647 691
F: (+44)1624 620 992