Closing legal loopholes: new EU rules criminalising violation of EU sanctions enter into force
May 20, 2024

Closing legal loopholes: new EU rules criminalising violation of EU sanctions enter into force


As from 19 May, new rules to harmonise criminal offences and penalties for the violation of EU restrictive measures enter into force. The new rules will ensure that such violations can be criminally investigated and prosecuted in all Member States. 

They include a list of criminal offences related to the violation and circumvention of EU sanctions, such as failing to freeze assets, breaching travel bans and arms embargoes, providing prohibited or restricted economic and financial services, transferring funds that should be frozen to a third party or providing false information to conceal funds that should be frozen.

The new rules also establish common basic standards for penalties for both natural and legal persons in all Member States, closing existing legal loopholes and increasing the deterrent effect of violating EU sanctions in the first place. They will also strengthen the cooperation and communication between the competent authorities in a Member State and among Member States in the Union.

“With Putin continuing his illegal aggression against Ukraine, it is paramount that EU sanctions are fully implemented and the violation of those measures is punished,” Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said. “In addition, the new rules will also make it easier for Member States to confiscate some of the frozen assets of people and companies that support the war.

Member States have until 20 May 2025 to transpose the Directive into their national law and make them work in practice

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New rules



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