Monday, July 18
Over the weekend France added two individuals to its list of sanctions list pursuant to the country's autonomous counter-terrorism sanctions which are codified under article L. 562-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code of France . (Here)
UK's Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 13) Regulations 2022 came into force. The regulations, among other things, expanded the designation criteria to cover those involved in obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia, and broaden the definition of ‘associated with’ to include specified family members. and
OFSI updated its Russia guidance to reflect the relevant provisions in the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 12) Regulations 2022 and Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 13) Regulations 2022. (Here)
The EU Council delisted Cham Wings Airline of Syria. (Here) The airline was designated in December of 2021 for the following reason:
"Cham Wings Airlines is an operator of charter flights from Syria to Belarus. The company increased the number of flights from Damascus to Minsk since the summer of 2021 in order to transport migrants to Belarus who intended to illegally cross the external borders of the Union. In autumn 2021, Cham Wings also opened two new offices in Minsk in order to be able to organise the flights between Damascus and Minsk. Cham Wings Airlines therefore contributes to activities by the Lukashenka regime that facilitate the illegal crossing of the external borders of the Union."
Tuesday, July 19
UK's Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 12) Regulation 2022 came into force. The regulations made some amendments and prohibited investments in Russia.
OFSI issued General License INT/2022/2002560 allowing a 7-day wind down period for the outbound investment in Russia that just became prohibited. (Here)
The U.S. President issued a new Executive Order (E.O. 14078) in which, among other things, established a new designation authority. The new authority allows the Secretary of State to impose asset freezing sanctions on foreign persons who are "responsible for [...] the hostage-taking of a United States national or the wrongful detention of a United States national abroad." As of Sunday, July 24, 2022, the new designation authority has not been used for any designations. (Treasury's press release, Department of State's press release, The White House Fact Sheet)
DOJ published a press release announcing the seizure and forfeiture of $500,000 from North Korean ransomware actors and their conspirators. (Here) There is no mention of the Treasury in the press release except where the press release refers to a recently-issued advisory issued by a number of agencies/departments including the Treasury. The press release reads that the victims of the attacks paid the North Korean attackers but informed the government immediately. Even though it is early to guess what OFAC may do, the lack of public action from OFAC may mean that OFAC deals with such potential violations in a non-public manner. This has been stated in the advisory as well.
Wednesday, July 20
The U.S. Department of State issued a report pursuant to Section 353 of the United States–Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act in which it listed 60 corrupt and undemocratic individuals in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. (Here) Being identified under this list will subject the listed person to travel restrictions (a type of sanction).
Thursday, July 21
France added two individuals to its list of autonomous sanctions list pursuant to the country's autonomous counter-terrorism sanctions which are codified under article L. 562-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code of France . (Here)
UK's Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 14) Regulations 2022 came into force. The new regulations expanded the UK's sanctions considerably and brought the UK's restrictions in line with those of the U.S. and the EU. In particular, the new regulations:
expanded the scope of existing energy-related goods and services prohibitions from the 2019 Regulations;
prohibited the provision of accounting, business and management consulting, and public relations services to persons connected to Russia;
prohibited the import of oil and oil products that originate in or are consigned from Russia or the acquisition or supply and delivery of said oil and oil products with the intention of those goods entering into the UK;
prohibited the import of coal and coal products that originate in or are consigned from Russia or the acquisition or supply and delivery of said coal and coal products with the intention of those goods entering into the UK; and
prohibited the import (whether directly from Russia or via a third country), acquisition or supply and delivery of gold that originates in Russia on or after 21 July 2022.
OFSI amended its Russia Guidance again to cover the new regulations. (Here)
The EU Council adopted three decision related to the sanctions against Russia:
Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/1271 of 21 July 2022 which intends to tighten existing economic sanctions targeting Russia, perfect their implementation and strengthen their effectiveness. (Press release) This package which was called the “maintenance and alignment” package introduced a new prohibition to purchase, import, or transfer, directly or indirectly, gold, if it originates in Russia and it has been exported from Russia into the EU or to any third country after. This prohibition also covers jewelry.
Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/1272 of 21 July 2022 which imposed asset-freezing sanctions against additional 54 individuals and ten entities in response to the ongoing unjustified and unprovoked Russian military aggression against Ukraine. (Press release)
Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/1276 of 21 July 2022 which added six individuals and one entity to the sanctions list of the EU. The new entries were Syrian persons that were involved in sending mercenaries to fight alongside Russian troops in Ukraine.
OFAC announced the issuance of a Finding of Violation to MidFirst Bank. The violations were related to the deficiencies in the screening system of the bank. The delay in updating the list of sanctions targets and the delay in screening its client base led the bank to process transactions in violation of the U.S. sanctions. The enforcement actions notice is filled with helpful tips about screening and how to remediate effectively. I recommend reading it here.
Friday, July 22
OFSI issued General License INT/2022/2009156 which is applicable to several sanctions regimes of the UK. It allows only those individuals or entities designated under the UK Sanctions Regimes to make payments to UK insurers for insurance premiums and broker commissions relating to the provision of building and engineering insurance cover provided to UK properties. (Here)
OFAC issued two General Licenses, published two new FAQs, and amended two FAQs. (Here) The new General Licenses, GL 45 and GL 46, authorizes transactions related to the wind down of certain financial contracts and authorizes transactions in support of an auction process to settle certain credit derivative transactions that were prohibited by E.O. 14071 respectively.
Recommendations of the week
This week I would like to recommend two decision by the Court of Justice of the EU:
Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin case (here): this case was about the 2020 designation of the appellant for his ties to Wagner Group under EU's Libya sanctions regime. The court reject the appellant's request to annul the relevant decision for five reasons: (i) infringement of the obligation to state reasons for those decisions, (ii) the inadmissibility of the evidence relied on, (iii) an erroneous assessment of the facts, (iv) abuse of power, and (v) the infringement of his fundamental rights. The court argued that none of those allegations were applicable in this case and as such rejected the appellant's request.
Alisher Usmanov case (here in French only): the court rejected the appellant request for injunctive relief regarding sanctions imposed against him. The court did not find serious and irreparable harm if the injunction is not granted. Also, the court balanced the interest of public (the Union) against the private interest of the appellant and found that the interest of public is more important. For these two reasons the court rejected the appellant's request.