Archives: Economic Sanctions

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Sanctions Round-Up

Sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions– everyone’s favorite tool of foreign policy sure has been making a lot of news lately.  Here’s a round-up of the latest sanctions analysis here at the International Compliance Blog: Russia: Peter Jeydel summarized the Russia sanctions bill that the Senate passed on June 14, while Alexis Early assessed the bill’s prospect for passage … Continue Reading

Back to the Future on “Extraterritorial” Sanctions on Russian Pipelines?

Earlier this month, after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that would authorize (and in some cases mandate) sanctions on foreign energy firms that participated in certain Russian energy projects, the Governments of Germany and Austria issued a joint statement that they “cannot accept a threat of extraterritorial sanctions, illegal under international laws, against European … Continue Reading

What Can We Say About The Trump Administration’s First Russia Sanctions?

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated 38 individuals and entities in order to “reinforce[] existing sanctions on Russia.”  This announcement came while President Trump was meeting the President of Ukraine in the White House.  These were the first new sanctions under the Trump Administration related to the conflict in Ukraine … Continue Reading

New Cuba Policy May Not Significantly Impact Many Sectors

President Trump announced, on June 16, 2017, that, “effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.” However, with two primary exceptions, the Presidential Memorandum setting out the new policy may leave in place most of the steps to ease the embargo that the Obama Administration and previous administrations had taken. … Continue Reading

OFAC Removes Burmese Sanctions Regulations

On June 16, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that it removed the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (“BSR”) from the Code of Federal Regulations.  This removal is the culmination of actions taken by the Obama Administration in October 2016 to terminate the national emergency with respect to Myanmar (EO … Continue Reading

Cuba Policy Changes Will Complicate New Business But Grandfather Existing Deals

In a much-anticipated speech on Cuba policy today, President Trump announced that, “effective immediately, I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.” That pronouncement notwithstanding, it appears that the Trump Administration’s new policy on Cuba (as set out in a Presidential Memorandum) will leave intact most of the changes made by the … Continue Reading

Congress Flexes Sanctions Muscles: Bills Target Iran, Russia, and Others

This month, Congress is considering an array of new sanctions-related legislation, and, in recent days, bipartisan support has grown for a bill that would potentially direct significant measures against Russia and Iran. Congress has also debated bills proposing new sanctions against North Korea, Hamas, Hezbollah, and both chambers have put forth multiple bills that would … Continue Reading

Epsilon Electronics: A Cautionary Tale on Transshipments?

On May 26, 2017, in Epsilon Electronics v. US Department of the Treasury, a split panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals partially upheld and partially remanded to the district court a determination by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to impose a penalty of over $4 million against Epsilon for … Continue Reading

Between a rock and a hard place: How to ensure sanction compliance when operating a facility in a sanctions-targeted country

The recently reported resignation of cement manufacturer LafargeHolcim’s CEO has thrown a spotlight on the risks of operating commercial activities in countries targeted by economic sanctions.[1] Without drawing any conclusions on the legal qualification of LafargeHolcim’s conduct in the specific circumstances, the following provides an overview of the principal issues at stake in this case. … Continue Reading

OFAC Extends Belarus Sanctions Relief

On April 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a general license extending sanctions relief, which authorizes U.S. persons to engage in certain transactions with nine Belarus-based entities that have been designated as Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”), as well as other entities in which the nine entities have … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Uses New Approach in Syria Sanctions Action

On April 24, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (“SSRC”) pursuant to Executive Order 13582 (targeting the Syrian government and its supporters).  The designations are part of the Trump Administration’s response to the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Certifies Iran’s Compliance with Nuclear Deal, but Initiates Review of Sanctions Relief

Will the Trump Administration “waive” goodbye to sanctions relief under the Iran nuclear deal? Last night, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certified to Congress that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program, but signaled that the Trump Administration is reviewing whether continued sanctions relief under the … Continue Reading

What’s in a Photo? And Thoughts on the UK Sanctions Scene

A couple of recent news items throw into sharp relief what we long have noted here at the International Compliance Blog—that economic sanctions are a key tool of a country’s national security and foreign policy, and can serve as an instrument by which to influence a broad array of events. First, take a look at this photo: … Continue Reading

OFSI Issues Regulations Implementing Civil Penalties for Financial Sanctions Violations

Following up on our previous post, yesterday the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) issued regulations formally implementing the civil penalties framework set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2017.  OFSI has issued a press release, regulations regarding civil penalties, responses received to OFSI’s request for consultation regarding draft guidance issued in December … Continue Reading

UK to Move Towards US-Style Sanctions Enforcement with Upcoming Penalty Regulations

The UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation will soon issue regulations that could significantly alter the British sanctions enforcement environment, and bring it closer in line with the US’s approach to such violations.  On the heels of the newly-enacted Policing and Crime Act 2017, the regulations will introduce civil penalties for the violation of financial … Continue Reading

New Iran Sanctions Bills Backed by Bipartisan Group of Key Legislators

On March 23, 2017, members of Congress introduced two new bills aimed at increasing non-nuclear sanctions against Iran. While several Iran sanctions bills have been introduced since the start of the year, these newly introduced bills are particularly notable due to their bipartisan support from an influential group of legislators. The bills represent legislative compromises … Continue Reading

ZTE Settlement Marked by Record Penalty and Lessons Learned

China’s Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Limited, and their subsidiaries and affiliates, (collectively, ZTE), reached a historic combined $1.19 billion settlement with the US government on March 7, 2017.  This settlement resolves export controls and sanctions violations associated with shipments of US-origin equipment to Iran and North Korea.  ZTE pled guilty to … Continue Reading

OFAC Takes Sanctions Jurisdiction Into Uncharted Waters

On February 3, 2017, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a finding of violation against Taiwan-based B Whale Corp. (BWC), a member of the Taiwan-based shipping company TMT Group. The finding of violation was issued for activity occurring entirely outside the United States, based on the jurisdictional finding that “BWC was … Continue Reading

ZTE Enters Multi-Agency Settlement to Resolve Sanctions and Export Controls Allegations

On March 8, 2016, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) added major Chinese telecommunications company Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment (“ZTE”) and three ZTE affiliates to the BIS Entity List, alleging that the ZTE entities developed a scheme to re-export controlled items to Iran in violation of US export controls and sanctions … Continue Reading

Potential Designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and What It Could Mean for the Iran Deal

The Trump Administration recently floated the idea of designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Muslim Brotherhood as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).  This post focuses on the potential designation of the IRGC as an FTO, while a future post will discuss the implications of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as an FTO. The IRGC … Continue Reading

New US Sanctions on Iran: More of the Same, but Tensions Are Rising

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 25 additional individuals and entities on its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDNs) on February 3, 2017.  Alone the new designations do not constitute a departure from past policy or practice, but they could indicate the possibility of such … Continue Reading

Waive it Goodbye? How the Trump Administration Might Attack the Iran Nuclear Agreement

President Trump has made no effort to conceal his disdain for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program, which he frequently has described as a “disaster” ranking among the worst deals in U.S. history. However, heated rhetoric notwithstanding, he often spoke on the campaign trail of improving the deal, rather … Continue Reading
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