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Last week's major developments in sanctions - January 9th to January 13th, 2023

Monday, January 9

  • OFAC replaced General License 31A with 31B under its Venezuela sanctions program. The new license limited the scope of the previous one by removing the authorization for transactions related to "the current Interim President of Venezuela, Juan Gerardo Guaidó Marquez" or his designees. Concurrently, OFAC amended several of its FAQs to capture the change in the scope of the new license. (Here)

  • The United States Department of Justice announced a plea agreement with an individual in which the defendant pleaded guilty to two separate conspiracies to violate sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran regarding the exportation, re-exportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of any goods, technology, or services to Iran. The facts of the case as described in the press release of DoJ are very interesting (egregious). I suggest you read through the press release. (Here)

Tuesday, January 10

  • There was no major development on this day.

Wednesday, January 11

  • OFAC published FAQ 1110 to explain the recently-issued General License D2 under its Iran program. OFAC, also, amended several FAQs to reflect the recent changes made by the new General License. (Here)

  • In an AML-related development, the UK's FCA fined Al Rayan Bank PLC in the amount of £4,023,600 due to the bank's shortcomings in its AML controls. (Here)

  • A California-based company, Broad Tech System, Inc, and its president pleaded guilty to conspiracy, violation of the Export Control Act, and money laundering conspiracy. They had submitted false and misleading documentation to the U.S. Government and shipped goods to China in violation of the Export Control Reform Act. (Here)

  • The EU Journal published Commission's Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/66 of 21 October 2022 amending Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the list of dual-use items. (Here)

Thursday, January 12

  • Sanctions violations in the United States can now cost you more. OFAC amended its maximum amount of the civil monetary penalties to adjust for inflation. OFAC does this every year pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended. (Here)

  • OFAC issued General License 21B under its Global Counter-Terrorism program to extend the validity of the identical authorizations granted under General License 21A. (Here)

Friday, January 13

  • On a busy day for FinCEN, it took the three following actions:

    1. Issued an alert on Human Smuggling Along the Southwest Border of the United States (here);

    2. Announced that it will seek comment on the mechanism that FinCEN proposes to use to collect beneficial ownership information from reporting companies as set out in the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements final rule (here); and

    3. Announced that it will seek comments on the application that FinCEN proposes to require individuals to use to obtain a FinCEN identifier, consistent with the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements final rule (here).


The Recommendations of the Week

  • This week's first recommendation is to check out Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022. Last week, the President of the United States signed it and it became law. As the name of the act suggest it is intended to protect the trade secrets of United States persons. The act requires the Executive branch to submit a report and to impose sanctions, chosen from a list of sanctions measures provided in the act, on those identified in the reports. A few interesting points that caught my attention:

    1. Inclusion on the Entity List of BIS is one of the options afforded to the President;

    2. The act uses "shall" (rather than may) when referring to the imposition of sanctions; and

    3. The President has 180 days to submit the first report under this act (i.e., until July 4, 2023). I believe by then (no pun intended) the President will issue an Executive Order to declare a national emergency with respect to the stealing of the trade secrets of the United States.

  • Cointelegraph published an interesting (yet not surprising) article about the Iranian regime's collaboration with the government of the Russian Federation to use digital assets. Here is the article: Iran and Russia want to issue new stablecoin backed by gold

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