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Criminalisation of EU sanctions violations

The EU Council has unanimously decided to add the violation of restrictive measures to the list of ‘EU crimes’. See here for Council press release.

Currently Member States have different definitions of what constitutes a violation of EU sanctions and what penalties should be applied in the event of a violation. The Decision by the Council means that eventually these issues will be harmonised across the EU.

However, this will not happen immediately as now, the European Commission needs to present a proposal for a directive containing minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and penalties for the violation of EU sanctions. This draft directive will then need to be discussed and adopted by the Council and the European Parliament.

Proposal for European Public Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute/punish EU sanctions violations

In a related development, the Justice ministers of France and Germany have jointly published an article which argues that the  European Public Prosecutor’s Office should be given the competence to prosecute and punish violations of EU sanctions. The article can be found here (available in German).


Sunny Mann is a Partner in Baker McKenzie's London office and co-leads the UK Compliance and Investigations Practice, as well as the UK International Commercial and Trade Practice. Both these practices are ranked Tier 1 by Legal 500 UK. He has also worked in our Firm's Washington DC, New York and Sydney offices. Sunny also advises many clients on risk matters in India. He advises clients (including numerous FTSE 100 and Fortune 100 businesses) on compliance and investigations with respect to export controls, trade sanctions and anti-bribery rules. The Legal 500 ranked Sunny as a “Leading Practitioner", and as "excellent", with a ‘calm’ and "very practical" approach. The India Business Law Journal also noted that Sunny is "excellent and has deep experience in India". He is a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, the leading institute for post-graduate European studies, where he teaches a course on Corporate Compliance.


Anahita Thoms heads Baker McKenzie's International Trade Practice in Germany and is a member of our EMEA Steering Committee for Compliance & Investigations. Anahita is Global Lead Sustainability Partner for our Industrials, Manufacturing and Transportation Industry Group. She serves as an Advisory Board Member in profit and non-profit organizations, such as Atlantik-Brücke, and is an elected National Committee Member at UNICEF Germany. She has served for three consecutive terms as the ABA Co-chair of the Export Controls and Economic Sanctions Committee and as the ABA Vice-Chair of the International Human Rights Committee. Anahita has also been an Advisory Board Member (Beirätin) of the Sustainable Finance Advisory Council of the German Government.

Anahita has won various accolades for her work, including 100 Most Influential Women in German Business (manager magazin), Top Lawyer (Wirtschaftswoche), Winner of the Strive Awards in the category Sustainability, Pioneer in the area of sustainability (Juve), International Trade Lawyer of the Year (Germany) 2020 ILO Client Choice Awards, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, Capital 40 under 40, International Trade Lawyer of the Year (New York) 2016 ILO Client Choice Awards. In 2023, Handelsblatt recognized her as one of Germany’s Dealmaker and “most sought after advisors of the country” in the field of sustainability.


Dimitris Mourkas is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie, London office.

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