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Introducing Sanctions Scrum

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Motivated by historic events—and encouraged by clients—I’m pleased to offer the inaugural Sanctions Scrum, a note for global ruggers interested in bruises and insights at the collision of economic sanctions, global trade, and geopolitical security.

We’re now all in the game, as Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco recently forecast in a speech announcing a new DOJ “intensity” and “commitment” to an expanded scope of enforcement activities:

“Sanctions have been considered by some as a concern mainly for banks and financial institutions. As companies grapple with the fallout of Russian aggression and the new intensity of sanctions enforcement, though, they are recognizing that the risk of sanctions violations cuts across industries and geographic regions.”

Two consequential developments brought us here.

First, the Russian War Machine’s invasion of Ukraine has ushered in multilateral resolve. The welcome expansion of NATO to include Finland and Sweden is one example. And the West’s demonstrated appetite to sanction collectively is another. “We’ve turned a corner.”

Also, economic sanctions are now an indispensable compliment to kinetic war. Degrading an adversary’s supply chain now works in tandem with more conventional weapons of war. Under the new orthodoxy, denying the Russian War Machine microchips is as important as sinking Russian warships.

The multilateral adoption of economic sanctions as a tool of war will have critical consequences for global supply chains and enterprise risk. Sanctions Scrum aims to make it all less muddy.

Why a scrum?

A scrum is a meeting of sort: a collaboration of like-minded athletes, and a critical tool against a powerful foe, improved through coordination. With the risks of sanctions-busting Oligarchs and would-be whistleblowers looming large on the other side of the scrimmage line, we are obliged to meet this threat together as one powerful group of professionals.

Whether you’re a member of the board of directors, a corporate officer—or just a curious executive trying to understand where to stick your bandaged head—we’re here to help. In the dynamic days ahead, Sanctions Scrum will work to offer the insight you need to navigate within this new arena.

Thanks for joining us on the pitch! Now let’s bind up and win this thing!


Jim Lay

Philomont, Virginia