Jonathan Benson

Jonathan Benson

Counsel, White Collar Defense and Investigations
Jonathan Benson has extensive experience advising on complex sanctions, national security, business compliance and trade-related matters.


Mr. Benson has counseled on U.K. and EU sanctions and export controls for nearly a decade and also has a deep background in anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws, human rights issues, foreign direct investment controls and international trade law. His work includes developing and implementing compliance programs, providing day-to-day compliance advice and counseling on internal and regulatory investigations, contentious matters and issues that arise in corporate and financing transactions.

In addition to many years in private practice, Mr. Benson’s experience includes serving as a senior lawyer at the U.K. Department for International Trade and the U.K. Ministry of Defence. His work included advising on national security and trade-related issues and helping prepare the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 as a member of the Export Control Joint Unit.

In recognition of his practice, Mr. Benson was named to Global Competition Review’s Foreign Investment Controls 40 Under 40 list in 2023.

Mr. Benson frequently writes and speaks on sanctions, export controls and related topics. His experience prior to joining Skadden includes advising:

  • a multinational digital transformation services provider on its IPO on the London Stock Exchange, the demerger of its Russian business and its de-SPAC
  • a global technology investment group on various transactions associated with its exit from Russia and a number of other investments and disposals
  • a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund on the unwinding of a joint venture with a Russian counterparty
  • a European bank on the sale of its Russian bank and insurance subsidiaries
  • a multinational tobacco company on numerous issues relating to the sanctions compliance of its business in Russia and other matters
  • an oil trader on a number of transactions, including its acquisition and subsequent disposal of a stake in a Russian oilfield and its acquisition of an interest in a European energy trading company
  • a global infrastructure investor on the sanctions and export controls issues associated with its investment in a global provider of network services
  • a U.S.-based electronics manufacturer on the export controls classification of a number of its products
  • an international organisation on several claims against a state, including in relation to the impact of sanctions on the recovery of any judgment debts
  • a provider of oil-related goods and services on an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs into alleged violations of U.K. sanctions
  • a number of regulated entities in relation to reporting obligations under U.K. sanctions
  • numerous buyers, sellers, lenders and other parties on the application of the U.K.’s National Security and Investment Act 2021 (NSIA) to their transactions and the application of similar screening regimes across a range of sectors and geographies. Mr. Benson negotiated one of the first final orders made under the NSIA
  • a Middle Eastern state on international trade and customs issues associated with the establishment of a new special economic zone and the drafting of its associated legal framework
  • a Middle Eastern free zone on the World Trade Organization law compatibility of the G7’s proposed sanctions on Russian diamonds



  • LL.M., King's College London, 2013
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course, London and Guildford College of Law, 2007
  • G.D.L., The University of Law, 2006
  • M.St., University of Oxford, 2005
  • B.A., University of Oxford, 2004


  • England & Wales

Jonathan Benson

Counsel, White Collar Defense and Investigations