On November 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended the expiration date for certain Ukraine-related general licenses related to EN+ Group plc (EN+), United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL), and GAZ Group (GAZ).  The expiration date of General Licenses 13G (Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in Certain Blocked Persons), 14C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with United Company RUSAL PLC), 15B (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with GAZ Group), and 16C (Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with EN+ Group PLC or JSC EuroSibEnergo) was extended from December 12, 2018 to January 7, 2019.  U.S. persons participating in transactions or activities authorized by these general licenses should provide a detailed report to OFAC within 10 business days of January 7, 2019 (by January 21, 2019).

Continue Reading OFAC Extends Expiration Date for EN+, RUSAL, and GAZ Ukraine-related General Licenses

Treasury Department

As previously covered here, on April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) invoked authority provided under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”) in order to place several Russian oligarchs, political officials and businesses under their control on its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”).  These designations generally prohibited U.S. persons from engaging in transactions  with the sanctioned individuals  and entities, however OFAC also issued several General Licenses simultaneously which were intended to provide limited windows for maintaining or winding down preexisting transactions with those sanctioned individuals or entities.  OFAC has now partially extended those authorized wind down periods by issuing the following General Licenses last week on September 21, 2018: Continue Reading OFAC Extends Authorization Period for Licensed Transactions with Certain Russian SDNs

On September 20, 2018, President Trump released a 16-page Executive Order which delegated various Presidential powers established under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”) to both the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and the U.S. Secretary of State.  As a result of this delegation, the U.S. Treasury Department‘s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the U.S. State Department are now empowered to take actions which include (but are not limited to) designating parties to be sanctioned under various CAATSA provisions, selecting the specific menu-based sanctions to be imposed upon those parties and implementing those menu-based sanctions (we previously covered the CAATSA statute here, here and here).  OFAC also updated its website to provide an additional FAQ response explaining the new Executive Order and indicating that it anticipates promulgating regulations to implement these sanctions. Continue Reading Trump Administration Issues New CAATSA Executive Order, Adds 33 Persons to LSP List and Sanctions Chinese Defense Buyer

Treasury DepartmentOn March 15, 2018 the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) exercised its authority to issue cyber sanctions under Executive Order 13694 and the new Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) by imposing blocking sanctions against 5 Russian entities and 19 Russian individuals connected to previous Russian cyber operations directed towards the United States. In an accompanying press release, OFAC stated that these sanctions were intended to counter Russian destabilizing activities such as interference in the 2016 US election, the 2017 global NotPetya cyber-attack and other cyber-attacks directed at critical U.S. infrastructure sectors. One aspect of this move was somewhat puzzling, because 9 of the total 24 sanctioned entities and individuals were already subject to blocking sanctions for their previous activities. For those 9 sanctioned entities and individuals, (which include Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) and Main Intelligence Directorate (the GRU), whose initial designation we covered here), it is unclear what OFAC seeks to accomplish by imposing blocking sanctions against them for a second time.

Continue Reading OFAC Imposes More Russian Cyber Sanctions and Foreshadows Future Oligarch Sanctions

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The Department of Commerce released its reports recommending remedies with respect to the Section 232 investigations of steel and aluminum today, February 16. The steel report was submitted to the White House on January 11, 2018 and started a statutory 90-day clock for the President to make a decision on a course of action. The aluminum report was submitted on January 19, 2018 and similarly started the statutory 90 days for the decision. Continue Reading Commerce Releases Steel and Aluminum Section 232 Reports

globe AsiaCAATSA Overview

Congress enacted the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) on August 2, 2017 in response to Russia’s continuing occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and cyber-interference in the 2018 United States Presidential elections. We previously covered CAATSA in blog posts here and here. CAATSA was notable because it passed the House of Representatives with a 419-3 approval margin and passed the Senate with a 98-2 approval margin. Among other things, CAATSA required President Donald Trump to take certain actions on the 180-day anniversary of CAATSA’s adoption, which included (but were not limited to): (i) imposing sanctions (commonly referred to as the “CAATSA Section 231 sanctions”) against persons engaged in “significant transactions” with Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors; and (ii) preparing and submitting a report (commonly referred to as the “CAATSA Section 241 report”) to various congressional committees identifying senior political figures and oligarchs within Russia. January 29, 2018 marked CAATSA’s 180-day anniversary and, as a result, it sparked a flurry of activity related to the CAATSA Section 231 sanctions and the CAATSA Section 241 report. Continue Reading Russia Sanctions Developments Incite Controversy and Signal Possible Future Changes

Globe showing AsiaThe U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended its Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations (GTSR) in order to impose additional sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) within the timeline required by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Effective October 31, 2017, persons and entities that OFAC has designated as officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC remain subject to secondary blocking sanctions which continue to prohibit them from engaging in activity with US and non-US persons and, in addition, these amendments to the GTSR now impose new sanctions to prohibit the designated IRGC affiliates from receiving humanitarian donations and other forms of assistance. OFAC has provided a list of the IRGC affiliates subject to these amendments here. Continue Reading OFAC and State Department Update Iran and Russia Sanctions Under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

bankOn Tuesday, September 26, the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department announced new sanctions on banks and representatives linked to North Korean financial networks. These sanctions come as a response to North Korea’s violations of UN resolutions and attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

OFAC identified 26 North Korean nationals working in China, Russia, Libya, and the UAE as representatives of North Korean banks. In addition, eight financial institutions were added to the Specially Designated Nationals list, several of which have branches in China.

Continue Reading OFAC Implements New Sanctions on North Korean Banking

White HouseOn Tuesday, August 22, the Trump Administration unveiled new sanctions against Chinese and Russian individuals and entities in order to restrain North Korea’s development of its nuclear and missile programs. The United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added ten companies and six individuals accused of trading coal, oil, and mineral resources with North Korea to its Specially Designated Nationals List. The Department of Treasury says that North Korea generates nearly $1 billion a year in coal exports and imposed sanctions on three Chinese companies that it determined to have imported North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016.

Continue Reading Trump Imposes Sanctions on China and Russia to Restrain North Korea’s Weapons Program