My Oligarch Has Been Sanctioned

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My Oligarch Has Been Sanctioned

It happened despite as silly as it may seem it really did happen. One of our cherished and best of our Graymen was working for a client that was sanctioned.

When one runs an international organization with men and women from many counties the organization, its professionals are saddled with their nation’s contrasting and competing ideologies… and restrictions.

March and April of this year several nations and organizations sanctioned several parties in Russia, Ukraine, the Crimea and a Finland.

The current troubles in Ukraine date from long ago. There are different religions and different outlooks. There has also been a long history of self-­‐serving and utterly corrupt and unfortunate leaders. They remind me of Detroit’s past leadership – corrupted and greedy leaders – so greedy they stole too much – and crashed the city. So be it, life moves on, and so will the Ukraine.

But we need to be more worldly in our outlook, as we are men and woman of the world.

Recently, because of the troubles in Ukraine several nations imposed sanctions on a number of persons and companies. The US was not the only nation to express its displeasure –in formal terms. Norway, Great Britain, Canada, Switzerland,

Liechtenstein, Austria, Australia and the EU to name a few, were some of the countries involved. .

But Ukraine is not alone; events and troubles all around the world exist. We only try to protect those who hire us from those who mess with, annoy, and threaten our charges.

So what do we need to do to keep abreast of the sanctions and our charges and Graymen?

The first is keep on top of the news. Sanctions are conflict with out weapons, it is economic. If you think governments are OK – with little violations – look at the fines leveled at BNP Paribas. These fines were for the violations of sanctions. Sanctions that were part of the US, EU and yes – France is a member of the EU. ( To confirm this I asked insiders in Brussels and with a heavy and smiling sigh, these well-­‐placed insiders said yes France is a member of the EU. )

But not all people and companies are sanctioned in the same way. Some people may be sanctioned by Canada and not the US – I know, go figure. Many others may be sanctioned by Norway and Switzerland and not the EU. This is the case for the round of sanctions having to do with the troubles in Ukraine. But troubles can be elsewhere.

Imagine that you are working for a charge and as the case with many we work for we are not just part of the EP team but in charge of all security. Often these people move items of value to and from sanctioned countries or to or from persons or business that are sanctioned. As we are in charge of all security we are requested/required to provide or coordinate transport and logistical security for these items. As head of security you have to check the goods, the origin and destination of the goods, and the other parties to the transaction against all sanctions list that may apply. That can be a half a dozen or more lists very easily.

Troubles can be between Venezuela, Columbia and Ecuador. Or troubles can be between Kashmiris and Indians, or between the Hayfields and the McCoys – such is the nature of conflicts and sanctions. Some new animosities pop up while old rivalries dissipate. In the mean time each party will have their own sanctions list that needs to be consulted.

But we cannot be cut short in our planning or thinking. Even the idea that if we only recruited Graymen from neutral countries such as Switzerland and Norway we would be without the need to check for sanctions. But Ukraine’s troubles have proved this rule of thumb fanciful. Or maybe we can just recruit from nations not yet developed enough to have an opinion such as Costa Rica, Angola, Namibia, or Laos – but what would we have for diversity of skills and language. Hmong is a good language I am told, but not widely spoken.

So we must deal the hand we are dealt – and work with people in those places and time as a combination of skills, language fluency, specific ability and – national prerogatives allowing.

So what does one do when one’s nationality finds one dealing with a sanctioned person? To tell the truth and disengage as quickly as possible. These people rarely have only one Grayman, so do what is right and honest as quickly as possible. Document the time you were made aware of the issues as well as what you did to disengage. Preserve the record with both your employer and legal counsel – and leave it at that.

The world is undergoing a severe transmutation of ideologies, economic and boundaries. Colonialism is gone, commonalities of interest are dashed, it seems each is out for their own – tribe for tribe, money for money. Just, (gotta borrow this from the Boy Scouts) “Be Prepared.”

This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Baron James Shortt, the Executive Director of the IBA.


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