Russia/Ukraine Sanctions

On November 14, 2022, HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (“OFSI”) published detailed guidance on the recently published ban on the provision of maritime transportation of Russian oil and oil products and related services (“OFSI Guidance”).  The OFSI Guidance sets out additional details regarding how the oil price cap exception will operate as well as the attestation process and reporting obligations with which all parties involved in the maritime supply chain will need to comply.  The OFSI Guidance also addresses OFSI’s proposed approach to enforcement of the new ban.  For more information on the ban on the maritime transportation of Russian oil and oil products and related services, see our previous blog post (here).

Continue Reading OFSI Publishes Guidance on the UK Maritime Services Prohibition and Oil Price Cap

On November 3, 2022, a sixteenth amendment to the UK’s Russia sanctions regime was laid before parliament.  The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 16) Regulations 2022 (“Amendment 16”) introduces a ban on UK ships and services such as insurance, brokerage and shipping facilitating the maritime transport of Russian crude oil from December 5, 2022.  A General Licence is expected to be published shortly that lays the basis for an oil price cap exception, which will allow continued access to services provided that Russian crude oil is purchased at or below the price cap.  The level of the price cap will be set by the price cap coalition of the G7 and Australia in due course.  Amendment 16 brings forward the implementation date for the import bans relating to Russian oil and oil products discussed in our previous blog post (here) from December 31, 2022 to December 5.  Amendment 16 also introduces a comparable ban on refined oil products, which will come into effect on February 5, 2023.

Continue Reading New UK Russia Sanctions Legislation Bans the Maritime Transport of Russian Oil

On October 28, 2022, further amendments to the UK’s Russia sanctions regime were laid before parliament.  The new measures introduced under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 15) Regulations 2022 (“Amendment 15”) include an expansion of the ban on loan and credit arrangements and the items covered by existing trade restrictions on oil refining, revenue generating, G7 dependency and further goods and technology.  Amendment 15 also introduces an import ban on liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) and the creation of new trade prohibitions on gold jewellery, certain processed gold and the export of so-called “Russia’s vulnerable goods.”  All of the new measures will enter into force on October 29, 2022, with the exception of the provisions relating to the import of LNG, which will enter into force on January 1, 2023.

Continue Reading New UK Russia Sanctions Legislation Amends Loan and Credit Restrictions; Expands the Range of Items Targeted by Existing Trade Prohibitions; and Introduces New Trade Prohibitions on Liquefied Natural Gas, Items Critical to the Functioning of Russia’s Economy and Certain Gold Items

On September 30, 2022, the UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, announced new services and goods export bans targeting vulnerable sectors of the Russian economy in response to President Putin’s announcement of the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia following sham referendums.  The imposition of an asset freeze also was announced on the Governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR), alongside measures to suspend the process by which actions taken to manage the orderly failure of Russian banks are recognized under the laws of the United Kingdom.  The announcements were made in tandem with the UK’s international partners.

Continue Reading UK Announces Further Russia Sanctions with Expanded Services Ban; New Export Ban on Goods; Asset Freeze Measures; and Measures Relating to the Failure of Sanctioned Russian Banks

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently released preliminary guidance on the implementation of a price cap policy on Russian crude oil and petroleum products.  This policy has major implications for maritime service providers and maritime supply chains.

Continue Reading OFAC Releases Preliminary Guidance on Implementation of the Russian Oil Price Cap

On July 21, 2022, further amendments to the UK’s Russia sanctions regime were laid before parliament.  The new measures introduced under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 14) Regulations 2022 (“Amendment 14”) include the coal, oil and gold import bans and ban on the provision of professional and business services previously announced by the UK government.  Amendment 14 also introduces trade restrictions targeting a significant number of new “G7 dependency and further” goods and expands existing restrictions with respect to energy-related goods and services.

Continue Reading UK Introduces Long Awaited Russia Sanctions Legislation Banning Coal, Oil and Gold Imports, and the Provision of Professional and Business Services to Russia and Further Expands Trade Restrictions

On July 18, 2022, further amendments to the UK’s Russia sanctions regime came into force in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  The new measures introduced under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 13) Regulations 2022 (“Amendment 13”) include an expansion of the designation criteria pursuant to which individuals and entities can be made subject to UK asset freeze sanctions and the introduction of a new trade sanctions exception for humanitarian assistance activity in non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.  Amendment 13 also expands certain definitions in relation to the interpretation of the concept of “ownership” of ships and aircraft subject to UK sanctions measures.

On July 19, 2022, new financial sanctions measures also came into force targeting certain new investment activities in relation to Russia.  The measures, made pursuant to the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 12) Regulations 2022 (“Amendment 12”), include restrictions on the acquisition of any ownership interest in land in Russia and in entities connected with – or having a place of business in – Russia, as well as a prohibition on the establishment of commercial arrangements such as branches in Russia and joint ventures with persons connected with Russia.  Investment services directly related to those activities also are prohibited by Amendment 12.

Continue Reading UK Expands Powers of Designation Under Russia Sanctions Regime; Prohibits Additional Types of New Investment in Russia and Introduces New Trade Sanctions Exception for Humanitarian Assistance

On June 28, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued a Joint Alert entitled “FinCEN and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security Urge Increased Vigilance for Potential Russian and Belarusian Export Control Evasion Attempts” (“Joint Alert”).  The Joint Alert marks the first time FinCEN and BIS have collaborated on an alert of this nature and has important implications for both financial institutions and exporters/international trade parties.

Continue Reading New Joint Alert Puts Export Compliance Focus on Financial Institutions

On June 23, 2022, the UK government adopted its latest package of trade sanctions measures against Russia in response to its continued military aggression in Ukraine.  The new sanctions measures were implemented pursuant to The Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 10) Regulations 2022 (“Russia Regulations Amendment No. 10”), which introduce a tranche

On June 15, 2022, the United Kingdom will introduce a strict civil liability standard for violations of UK financial sanctions committed after that date.  In anticipation of this important change to the enforcement powers of HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), the OFSI enforcement and monetary penalties for breaches of financial sanctions guidance (Monetary Penalties Guidance) has been updated and will take effect from June 15.  OFSI Director, Giles Thomson, also has outlined OFSI’s enforcement approach in light of these imminent changes in a blog post.

For more information on how these developments could impact your organization, contact the author of this post, Alexandra Melia, in Steptoe’s Economic Sanctions team in London.

Continue Reading UK Updates Sanctions Enforcement Guidance in Readiness for Imminent Introduction of Strict Civil Liability for Financial Sanctions Breaches