Monday, October 17
The EU Council took two sanctions-related decisions:
Council Decision 2022/1967 that extended the validity of the EU sanctions regime against Al Qaeda and ISIS through October 31, 2023 (press release); and
Council Decision 2022/1956 that added 11 individuals and four entities to the list of sanctions targets under its Iran sanctions program (press release). Designations were mainly due the targets' roles in the brutal repression of the protests in Iran in the wake of killing of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, while in custody. Furthermore, the EU Council imposed blocking sanctions on the Minister of information and Communications Technology for his responsibility in the internet shutdown.
OFSI issued General License INT/2022/1552576. The license authorizes those designated under the Russia or Belarus sanctions regimes of the UK to make payments to the London Court of International Arbitration to cover their arbitration costs. The license also authorizes processing such payments.
OFAC imposed blocking sanctions on nine individuals for their alleged roles in supporting al Shabab, a terrorist group close to al Qaeda. As part of the same designation tranche, the Department of the State added five leaders of al Shabab as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. (Here, the Department of the Treasury's press release, the Department of State's press release) Note: This development reminds that designations under some programs are done by the State Department. You can find which department has the authority to designate by reading the relevant executive order(s) for each sanctions program.
OFAC removed two Maltese individuals who used to be designated under OFAC's Libya sanctions program. (Here)
OFAC issued General License 28A under its Russia sanctions program, which replaced General License 28 under the same program, extending the validity period of the license through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, January 18, 2023.
Tuesday, October 18
In a major development which was not sanctions-related, Lafarge SA, a multi-national building materials manufacturer headquartered in Paris, France, and its Syrian subsidiary pleaded guilty, in a federal court in the U.S., to conspiring to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations, ISIS and the al Nusrah Front. This is the first time that an entity pleads guilty for proving material support to foreign terrorist organization. The facts of the case are quite shocking. I suggest you to listen the relevant press release here. (The U.S. Department of Justice's press release; an informative client alert about this matter by Paul Weiss team.)
OFAC issued a Finding of Violation (a type of enforcement action that does not involve monetary penalty) to Nodus International Bank, Inc., a bank in Puerto Rico, for violation of Venezuelan Sanctions Regulations and not living up to its reporting obligations. This case is interesting because it reminds everyone that any sort of dealing with blocked properties is prohibited. In this case, some of the securities issued by Nodus prior to the designation of the SDN in question were purchased by the SDN. Following the designation, the bank proceeded with redemption (requiring security holders to sell their securities to the issuer) of those securities and placed the proceeds of the redemption in a blocked account. (Here)
Wednesday, October 19
OFAC issued two tranches of designations to the SDN list:
Counter Narcotics Designations: three individuals and four entities (the Treasury's press release); and
Russia-related Designations: one individual and two entities (the Treasury's press release, the State's press release)
The United States Department of Justice announced actions, including charges and arrests, taken against several individuals and entities that were involved in two separate global networks of sanctions evasion for the benefit of Russia. (Here)
Thursday, October 20
France imposed blocking sanctions on three individuals under the country's autonomous counter-terrorism sanctions. (Here)
Both the EU Council and the UK imposed sanctions on three individuals and one entity for their role in the development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles used by Russia in its war against Ukraine. These designations were made under the respective sanctions programs of the EU and the UK against Russia and not those against Iran. (EU Council Decision, EU press release, OFSI Notice, UK government's press release)
The United States Department of State published a factsheet on the Impact of Sanctions and Export Controls on the Russian Federation.
Friday, September 21
The October 2022 Plenary Session of FATF concluded. Among other things, FATF updated its so-called grey list and black list. (Here)
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Tanzania were added to the grey list; and
Pakistan and Nicaragua came off the grey list
Myanmar (Burma) was added to the list
Recommendation of the week
A new episode of "Embargoed" podcast came out on Friday. Check it out here.