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Last week's major developments in sanctions - May 1st to May 5th, 2023

Monday, May 1

  • OFAC issued General License 42 under its Venezuela program which authorizes transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the negotiation of settlement agreements with the IV National Assembly. Concurrently, OFAC issued three FAQs related to the settlement of judgments that involves the Government of Venezuela or its instrumentalities. OFAC also issued a specific license to a district court in Delaware that authorizes the court to issue orders that would attach the blocked assets of the Government of Venezuela. Neither the general nor the specific license allows the actual sale of assets, an act which would in turn need another specific license. If you want to know more about the dispute which led to these actions you can check here.

  • OFAC announced a settlement with Poloniex in the amount of $7,591,630 for apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs. The circumstances that led to this fine are similar to many other cases in which a financial institution provided services to those located in comprehensively sanctioned jurisdictions. The recurring takeaway: if you have information that may lead to the discovery of a sanctions nexus, USE IT for sanctions compliance purposes. (Here)

Tuesday, May 2

  • The EU Official Journal published the Council's Decision that removed Nizar Al-Assad from its sanctions list following the annulation of his designation by the EU General Court back in March. (Council's Decision, General Court's Decision)

Wednesday, May 3

  • The United States and Türkiye imposed asset-freezing sanctions on two individuals who facilitated transactions for terrorist organizations designated by the United States and the United Nations. (Here, the Department of the Treasury's press release, and the Turkish MoFA's press release)

  • Canada imposed asset-freezing sanctions on one entity and nine individuals for their role in gross and systematic human rights violations in Iran and abroad. (Here)

  • The EU Commission published a Guidance Note entitled "Ensuring food security through the implementation of firewalls in cases of EU entities trading in agricultural and food products and controlled by a designated person or entity." (Here)

Thursday, May 4

  • The Department of State is designating three former officials in Colombia for their involvement in gross violation of human rights pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2023.  As a result of today’s action, the three designated persons and five of their family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. (Here) Someone asked me if it is necessary to screen the names of those designated pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2023. My response: it depends on your risk appetite. There are no financial sanctions imposed against those named pursuant to this authority per se. Therefore; no obligation to freeze assets belonging to those exists for U.S. or non-U.S. persons.

  • The President of the United States issued Executive Order 14098 in response to the situation in Sudan. The new Executive Order provides several grounds for the imposition of asset-freezing sanctions. (The Executive Order, OFAC notice)

Friday, May 5

  • OFAC replaced the energy-related General License F8 by issuing General License G8. (Here)

The Recommendation of the Week

  • K2 Integrity will be hosting an event about China sanctions and export control restrictors and I will be one of the panelists. If you're in NYC, feel free to join. (Here)

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