January 15, 2015
2014 was marked by numerous noteworthy developments. The crisis in Ukraine and the international community’s efforts to respond have figured prominently in, if not dominated, sanctions discourse. The Joint Plan of Action and the extension thereof provide a reminder of the ongoing debate concerning Iran’s nuclear program and sanctions on Iran. In December, President Obama announced a diplomatic thaw with Cuba, including the dismantling of major components of the U.S. sanctions regime on the country. And, as 2014 drew to a close and the new year began, the United States announced additional economic sanctions against North Korea.
This report summarizes key developments of 2014, beginning with executive and legislative responses in the United States to the Ukraine situation, followed by other U.S. sanctions developments, and then legislative, case law, and enforcement developments in the United Kingdom and in the European Union.
The situation in Ukraine remains precarious, with significant hurdles remaining to implement the protocol signed in Minsk on September 5, 2014. As a result, new and more significant sanctions remain possible in the coming months. The first part of this report is a snapshot of the status of the U.S. response to the volatile conditions in Eastern Europe.
President Obama issued a series of executive orders that authorize imposition of sanctions in response to the escalating situation in Ukraine. The first of the executive orders, Executive Order 13,660 “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” (hereinafter “First E.O.”), signed March 6, 2014, broadly targeted pro-Russia, pro-separatist elements in Ukraine. It blocks all property and interests in property in the United States of any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury to be responsible for, or complicit in, a number of different activities. These activities include asserting governmental authority over any part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine; and materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for destabilizing activities. The First E.O. also suspends entry into the United States of persons determined to have engaged in the aforementioned activities.
Executive Order 13,661, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” (hereinafter “Second E.O.”) was issued on March 16, 2014. The Second E.O. focuses on officials of the Government of the Russian Federation and persons operating in the arms or related sectors in the Russian Federation. It also blocks the property of any person determined to be owned or controlled by–or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of–a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation or a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the Second E.O. In addition, it blocks the property of any person determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for–or goods or services to or in support of–a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation or a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the Second E.O. Entry into the United States also is suspended for those persons designated pursuant to this Executive Order.
The Second E.O. defines the term “Government of the Russian Federation” as “the Government of the Russian Federation, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of the Government of the Russian Federation, and any person owned, or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of the Russian Federation.” It does not, however, define who is a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation, or what constitutes the arms or a related sector.
Finally, the President signed Executive Order 13,662 “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine” on March 20, 2014 (hereinafter the “Third E.O.”). The Third E.O. authorizes sanctions on any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury to operate in particular sectors of the Russian Federation economy, such as financial services, energy, metals and mining, engineering, and defense and related materiel. The authorization represents a significant expansion of the sanctions program because the targeted sectors need not be linked to the disruption in Ukraine.
On July 16, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (OFAC) for the first time exercised the authority granted by the Third E.O. and issued Directives that placed limited sanctions on four entities in the Russian financial services and energy sectors and identified these entities on a newly-published Sectoral Sanctions Identification List (SSI List). Directive 1 prohibits U.S. persons from transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in (i) new debt with a maturity longer than 90 days; or (ii) new equity for SSI-listed entities in the Russian financial services sector, these entities’ property, or their interests in property. It also prohibits any such transactions which occur in the United States. Two Russian banks were designated in Directive 1: Vnesheconombank (Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs), or VEB, and Gazprombank. Subsequently, on July 29, 2014, OFAC designated three more Russian banks on the SSI List: Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank, and VTB Bank OAO.
Directive 2 addresses the Russian energy sector and prohibits U.S. persons from transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in new debt with a maturity longer than 90 days for SSI-listed entities, their property, or their interests in property. Directive 2 also prohibits any such transactions which occur in the United States. The two Russian companies so listed are Novatek and Rosneft.
For the purposes of the SSI List, debt is considered to include bonds, loans, extensions of credit, loan guarantees, letters of credit, drafts, bankers acceptances, discount notes or bills, or commercial paper. Equity includes stocks, share issuances, depositary receipts, or any other evidence of title or ownership. The prohibitions also extend to debt issued by entities owned 50% or more by the named entities (and to equity issued by entities owned 50% or more by the banks identified in Directive 1).
OFAC clarified that identification of these entities on the SSI List does not prohibit (i) transactions in debt or equity that was issued prior to July 16, 2014; (ii) transactions dealing in new equity instruments for the two companies identified in Directive 2; and (iii) U.S. financial institutions from maintaining correspondent accounts and processing U.S. dollar-clearing transactions (so long as such activities do not involve dealing in the prohibited transaction types). The property and interests in property of those persons identified on the SSI List are not blocked unless those persons are also designated as SDNs. Rather, U.S. persons must reject transactions or dealings that are prohibited under these Directives.
In response to Russia’s continued activities in eastern Ukraine and its occupation of Crimea, on September 12, 2014, OFAC announced it was both expanding the scope of these sanctions and further adding to the number of sanctioned individuals and entities. OFAC added Directives 3 and 4 and revised the existing two Directives 1 and 2 (although the amendments to Directive 2 governing the energy sector are largely technical and non-substantive).
Directive 3 restricts U.S. persons from transacting or dealing in new debt of entities operating in the Russian defense and related materiel sector which OFAC has designated on the SSI List, where such debt has a maturity of longer than 30 days. Any such transaction occurring within the U.S. is similarly prohibited. As with Directive 1, these sanctions effectively cut off access for designated entities to much of the U.S. capital markets, as all but short-term debt financing is prohibited. OFAC designated a single entity, Rostec, under this Directive.
Directive 4 prohibits U.S. persons from providing, exporting, or reexporting, directly or indirectly, goods, services (except for financial services), or technology in support of exploration or production for deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil in the Russian Federation, or in the maritime area claimed by the Russian Federation and extending from its territory, and that involve any person determined to be subject to this Directive, its property, or its interests in property. This Directive prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in such trade with Russian companies designated by OFAC on the SSI List, which now includes Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Lukoil, Rosneft, and Surgutneftegas. Note that this prohibition applies to oil-related–and not gas-related–projects.
Concurrent with Directive 4, OFAC also issued General License No. 2, which permitted U.S. persons to wind-down their activities that would be in violation of Directive 4. In particular, the General License clarified that “all activities prohibited by Directive 4 under Executive Order 13662 of March 20, 2014, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind-down of operations, contracts or other agreements involving persons determined to be subject to Directive 4 under Executive Order 13662 and that were in effect prior to September 12, 2014, are authorized through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, September 26, 2014.” Note however, that the General License did not authorize any new such activities except as needed to cease operations involving projects covered by Directive 4. In addition, U.S. persons participating in transactions authorized by the General License were required to file a detailed report with OFAC.
OFAC also amended Directive 1 to tighten the access to capital market restrictions on SSI-listed entities in the financial services sector. Directive 1 still prohibits transacting, financing or otherwise dealing in new equity for these entities. But the amended Directive now prohibits such dealings in new debt with a maturity of longer than 30 days, which is a significant reduction from the previous threshold of 90 days. This new threshold applies only to debt issued on or after September 12, 2014. OFAC added Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank of Russia, to the SSI List pursuant to this Directive.
Directive 2 remains substantively unchanged, but OFAC added two energy sector entities, Gazprom Neft and Transneft, to the SSI List, which will now restrict U.S. persons from transacting or dealing in any new debt with a maturity of longer than 90 day of these entities.
OFAC released a number of “FAQs” that provided additional insight into the operation of the Directives, but also highlighted potential challenges for entities attempting to remain compliant. For example, in August OFAC clarified that entities owned a total of 50 percent or more by one or more SDNs were similarly blocked (the “50 Percent Rule”). OFAC then clarified that this guidance applies to persons identified as subject to a Directive. As a result, the prohibitions set forth in a Directive apply to entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more persons subject to the Directive whether or not the owned-entities are separately listed. OFAC also provided definitions of key terms in the Directives, such as “shale projects,” which it clarified applies to projects that have the potential to produce oil from resources located in shale formations. As long as the projects in question are neither deepwater nor Arctic offshore projects, the prohibitions in Directive 4 do not apply to exploration or production through shale to locate or extract crude oil (or gas) in reservoirs. OFAC also provided further information on what constitutes “production” and “Arctic offshore projects.”
OFAC also issued General License No. 1A, which authorizes transactions by U.S. persons involving derivative products whose value is linked to an underlying asset that constitutes new debt with a maturity of longer than 30 days or new equity issued by a person subject to Directive 1 under E.O. 13622, new debt with a maturity of longer than 90 days issued by a person subject to Directive 2, or new debt with a maturity of longer than 30 days issued by a person subject to Directive 3. General License No. 1A supersedes and replaces General License No. 1 which provided similar authorization with respect to Directives 1 and 2 only. In addition, OFAC issued General License No. 3, which authorizes transactions involving DenizBank A.S. that would otherwise be prohibited by Directive 1.
Finally, on December 19, 2014, the President issued an executive order targeting Crimea. Specifically, Executive Order 13,865, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Crimea Region of Ukraine” prohibits exports to and imports from Crimea of goods, technology and services, as well as new investment in Crimea. The E.O. authorizes blocking persons found to operating in Crimea, leading an entity in Crimea, to have been owned by or to have materially assisted, sponsored or provided support for persons blocked under the order. General License 4, also issued on December 19, authorizes the export or reexport of certain agricultural commodities, medicines, medical supplies, and replacement parts for medical devices. The General License does not authorize exports or reexports to SDNs or to military or law enforcement entities. Further, a number of items, including castor beans, castor bean seeds, non-NSAID analgesics, opioids, and bioactive peptides, are excluded from the general license. The General License also does not cover items that are not designated EAR99.
On April 3, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014. In addition to providing for costs of loan guarantees, recovery of assets related to Ukrainian governmental corruption, and enhanced democracy and security measures in Ukraine and the region, the bill targets two groups for sanctions.
Section 8 targets individuals responsible for violence or acts undermining the peace and security of Ukraine. These individuals include (i) any person–including current and former officials of the Ukrainian government–who perpetrated or otherwise directed significant acts of violence or human rights abuses in Ukraine against persons associated with anti-government protests; (ii) any person who perpetrated or otherwise directed other significant acts intended to undermine the peace and security of Ukraine, including acts of economic extortion; (iii) any official of the Russian government or their family member or close associate determined to be responsible for or complicit in acts of significant corruption in Ukraine; or (iv) any individual determined to have materially assisted or sponsored any of the acts described above. The sanctions are mandatory; if an individual is determined to fall within one of the categories above, the bill states sanctions must be imposed. The sanctions include blocking of all transactions in the individual’s property and interest in property in the United States or under United States control per the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), with civil and criminal penalties for blocking order violations. The asset blocking authority does not include the authority to impose sanctions on the importation of goods. If the person is an alien, sanctions also include denial or revocation of a United States visa or other documentation, as well as exclusion from the United States.
Section 9 targets individuals in the Russian Federation complicit in or responsible for significant corruption. These individuals include (i) any Russian government official or their family member or close associate who is determined to be responsible for or complicit in acts of significant corruption in the Russian Federation; or (ii) any individual determined to have materially assisted or sponsored an act described in the category above. The President is “authorized and encouraged” by the bill to impose sanctions if an individual falls into either category above. Similar to the section 8 sanctions, section 9 includes asset blocking of all transactions in the individual’s property and interest in property in the United States or under United States control per IEEPA, with civil and criminal penalties for blocking order violations. Again, as with section 8, the asset blocking authority does not include the authority to impose sanctions on the importation of goods. If the person is an alien, sanctions also include denial or revocation of a United States visa or other documentation as well as exclusion from the United States.
The President may waive the application of sanctions if (i) the President determines that the waiver is in the national security interests of the United States; and (ii) the President submits a notice and justification of the waiver to the proper Senate and House committees on or before the date the waiver takes effect.
Finally, the bill also calls for an annual report until 2020 from the Secretary of Defense to specified committees of Congress regarding the current and future military power of the Russian Federation. The report must include an assessment of the security situation in regions neighboring Russia, the goals driving Russia’s security strategy, and assessments of the Russian military forces, among other topics. 
On December 18, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (Ukraine Freedom Support Act), which provides him with the authority to impose additional economic sanctions on foreign persons conducting particular transactions in certain Russian economic sectors, notably the energy and defense sectors. The law, which originated as S.2828 in the United States Senate and H.R. 5859 in the House of Representatives and passed both with unanimous consent, further increases the economic pressure on Russia followings its annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and its continued support of separatist activities in eastern Ukraine.
The law provides the President with new powers, though generally does not require that the President impose new sanctions. Under the new legislation, the President shall impose certain penalties on Russian producers, transferors, or brokers of defense articles. Note, however, that the President must impose sanctions on Rosoboronexport, the Russian defense firm. In addition, the President may impose sanctions on a foreign person if the President determines that foreign person knowingly makes a significant investment in a special Russian crude oil project, and may sanction Gazprom if it withholds significant natural gas supplies from certain European countries. Importantly, the legislation also provides the President with authority to sanction foreign financial institutions that engage in certain significant transactions involving the Russian defense or energy sectors, or on behalf of an SDN.
The law also contains a number of other provisions related to providing Ukraine with military assistance and other forms of aid.
Section 4 – Sanctions Relating to the Defense and Energy Sectors
The law further pressures Russia’s defense and energy sectors, both by targeting specific companies and by prohibiting investment in new types of Russian economic projects. Regarding the defense sector, the law requires the President, within 30 days, to impose three out of nine possible types of sanctions on Rosoboronexport. The law also grants discretion to the President to impose, within 45 days, three types of sanctions on any entity determined by the President to be owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation–or by a national of the Russian Federation–that knowingly manufactures or sells defense articles transferred into Syria or other specified countries, or that transfers, brokers, or otherwise assists in the transfer of defense articles into Syria or other specified countries, without the consent of the internationally recognized government of that country. Relatedly, the law also authorizes the President, within 45 days, to impose sanctions on any person that the President determines knowingly assists, sponsors, or provides financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, such activities by these entities after the date of enactment of the Act.
Addressing the energy sector, the new legislation authorizes the President, within 45 days, to impose three or more types of sanctions on a foreign person if the President determines that the foreign person knowingly makes a significant investment in a special Russian crude oil project. A special Russian crude oil project is defined as a project intended to extract crude oil from an exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation in waters more than 500 feet deep, Russian Arctic offshore locations, or shale formations located in the Russian Federation. A foreign person is defined as any individual or entity that is not a United States citizen, a permanent resident alien, or an entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction with the United States. Note that this new authority provides the President with discretion to target non-U.S. persons for conducting certain transactions in the Russian energy sector. The legislation also provides the President with authority to impose additional licensing requirements for or other restrictions on the export or reexport of items for use in the energy sector of the Russian Federation, including equipment used for tertiary oil recovery.
The President can also impose sanctions on Gazprom, the Russian energy company, if he determines that it is withholding significant natural gas supplies from member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or from countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, or Moldova.
The possible sanctions that the President can impose are specifically enumerated by the Act, and include:
The legislation contains a number of exceptions and waivers, including a national security waiver that permits the President to waive certain sanctions with respect to a foreign person or a specific transaction if the President determines that the waiver is in the national security interest of the United States and submits to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the determination and the reasons for the determination. Additionally, the sanctions do not apply to the importation of goods.
Section 5 – Sanctions on Foreign Financial Institutions
The legislation also provides the President with the authority to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that engage in significant transactions involving a number of activities. In particular, foreign financial institutions are prohibited from engaging in significant transactions with any entity determined by the President to be owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation, or by nationals of the Russian Federation, that knowingly manufactures or sells defense articles transferred into Syria or other specified countries, or that transfers, brokers, or otherwise assists in the transfer of defense articles into Syria or other specified countries without the consent of the internationally recognized government of that country. Relatedly, foreign financial institutions are prohibited from engaging in any transactions involving a person who the President determines to be knowingly assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, such activities by these entities.
Foreign financial institutions are also prohibited from engaging in transactions involving entities that the President has determined made significant investment in a special Russian crude oil project, or with Gazprom if the President determines that Gazprom is withholding significant natural gas supplies from particular countries.
Finally, foreign financial institutions may be sanctioned if the President determines that they have knowingly facilitated a significant financial transaction, 180 days or more after the enactment of the Act, on behalf of any SDN that has been designated pursuant to the Ukraine crisis.
Under the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, the President has the authority to prohibit foreign financial institutions that violate these restrictions from opening or maintaining correspondent accounts in the United States.
Although much of the sanctions attention has been focused on Ukraine and Russia, there have been several developments with respect to other areas of the world.
On December 17, 2014, President Obama announced “the most significant changes to [U.S.] Cuba policy in more than 50 years.” According to information released by the White House, the United States and Cuba will move to normalize diplomatic and economic relations and the United States will implement significant changes to its sanctions policies and regulations with respect to Cuba. The United States intends to reopen its embassy in Havana and the President called for the State Department to review Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Removing Cuba from this list would have a dramatic impact on possible further relaxation of the trade and diplomatic sanctions currently in place against the country and its nationals.
While the broader U.S. embargo against Cuba remains in place and normal tourism is still prohibited, the announced policy shift will result in substantial changes to the implementation of the embargo and the ability of individuals residing in the U.S. to travel to Cuba for specified reasons, as well as for U.S. persons, individuals and businesses to engage in limited commerce with the Cuban people.
Please note that the new policies will not go into effect until the applicable regulations (the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, administered by OFAC, and the Export Administration Regulations, administered by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security) can be amended.
The changes to current U.S. policy fall into the following areas:
General licenses will be made available for all authorized travelers traveling to Cuba for the following reasons: (i) family visits; (ii) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; (iii) journalistic activity; (iv) professional research and professional meetings; (v) educational activities; (vi) religious activities; (vii) public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; (viii) support for the Cuban people; (ix) humanitarian projects; (x) activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; (xi) exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and (xii) certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines. While general licenses currently exist for some individuals whose travel falls within some of the above listed categories, other individuals, such as those whose travel is described by categories vii, viii, ix, x, and xi currently must obtain specific licenses from OFAC. The general licenses will significantly ease travel for qualified individuals.
Individuals whose travel to Cuba falls within the twelve categories authorized by the general licenses will be able to make travel arrangements through any service provider that complies with OFAC’s regulations concerning travel services to Cuba. In another significant policy change, general licenses, rather than specific licenses, will authorize the provision of such travel services.
In another change from current policy, U.S. institutions will be permitted to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions, and U.S. credit and debit cards will be permitted for use by travelers to Cuba (currently the use of U.S. credit and debit cards must be specifically authorized). The regulatory definition of the statutory term “cash in advance” will also be revised to specify that it means “cash before transfer of title,” instead of the current definition which requires that payment be received by the seller prior to shipment of goods from the loading port.
General licenses will authorize U.S.-owned or -controlled entities in third countries to provide services to, and engage in financial transactions with, Cuban individuals in third countries. Other general licenses will: (i) unblock accounts held at U.S. banks belonging to Cuban nationals who have relocated outside of Cuba; (ii) permit U.S. persons to participate in third-country professional meetings and conferences related to Cuba; and (iii) allow foreign vessels to enter the United States after engaging in certain humanitarian trade with Cuba, among other measures. Currently, such conduct by U.S. persons requires a specific license from OFAC.
Additional items will be authorized for export to Cuba, including certain building materials for private residential construction, goods for use by private sector Cuban entrepreneurs, and agricultural equipment for small farmers.
To support U.S. efforts to increase the ability of the Cuban people to communicate freely and broaden their access to the Internet and other forms of telecommunications, the commercial export of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware, and services, as well as items used for the establishment and update of communications-related systems, will be authorized. Telecommunications providers will be also be allowed to establish and provide commercial telecommunications and internet services, including the installation and support of necessary infrastructure. While the “freedom to communicate” has been a long-term policy goal of the U.S. government, especially with respect to the access to communications and ability to communicate freely of individuals subject to repressive governments, allowing U.S. telecommunications providers to actually provide such telecommunications services and infrastructure within Cuba itself is an unprecedented change in U.S. policy towards Cuba.
Licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be authorized to import $400 worth of goods from Cuba, with a limit of $100 in tobacco products and alcohol, combined. This is a change from the current regulations, which ban the import of almost all Cuban goods.
The level of general, non-family remittances to Cuban nationals will be raised from $500 to $2,000 per quarter, except for remittances to certain officials of the Cuban government or the Communist party, which will still be prohibited. In addition, donative remittances for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, and support for the development of private businesses in Cuba will no longer require a specific license from OFAC, nor will remittance forwarders.
In addition to the Executive Orders issued in response to the Ukraine crisis discussed above, President Obama in 2014 also issued sanctions-related Executive Orders pertaining to South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). The measures tightened restrictions against parties contributing to violence and unrest in South Sudan and the CAR, and broadened the scope of sanctionable conduct in the DRC, but eased restrictions in Iraq due to improvements in the circumstance under which sanctions were initially imposed.
On April 3, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13,664, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to South Sudan,” declaring a national emergency to deal with the “threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” resulting from violence and instability in South Sudan. The E.O. authorizes blocking of persons contributing to violence in the country, including Government and opposition forces. Specifically, it blocked property of those persons that are responsible for, lead, or materially assist with human rights abuses, violent acts against women and children, interference with humanitarian aid or peacekeeping missions, the recruitment or use of child soldiers, and actions that threaten stability or peacekeeping. The E.O. also prohibited donations to blocked persons, including food, clothing and medicine, placed a travel ban on blocked persons, and prohibited transactions or conspiracies that attempt to violate the E.O. OFAC Guidance published on June 2, 2014, clarified that payments to “non-designated individuals or entities under the command and control” of blocked persons are not prohibited, but emphasized that due diligence is required to ensure that blocked persons or groups do not profit from the transactions.
Signed by President Obama on May 13, 2014, Executive Order 13,667, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic” declared a national emergency based on the “breakdown of law and order, intersectarian tension, widespread violence and atrocities, and the pervasive, often forced, recruitment and use of child soldiers” in the Central African Republic. The E.O. blocked the property of persons who engage in, lead, sponsor, or assist: activities that threaten peace, stability, the political transition process, or democratic processes and institutions; targeted violence against civilians; the use or recruitment of child soldiers; the obstruction of delivery of humanitarian aid; attacks against peacekeepers or the UN; and persons or groups that threaten the country’s security through illicit trade of natural resources. Additionally, persons who supply, sell, or receive arms or other military materials, including military training and financing are blocked (except if such activity was authorized for humanitarian or peacekeeping activities). Additional restrictions include the prohibition of donations (including humanitarian donations) to or from blocked individuals and entities, a travel ban on blocked persons, and the prohibition of violations or conspiracies intended to violate the E.O.
On May 27, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13,668, “Ending Immunities Granted to the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Iraqi Property and Interests in Property Pursuant to Executive Order 13303, as Amended.” Executive Order 13,303, signed by President Bush in May of 2008, prohibited the “attachment or other judicial process” of assets of the Development Fund for Iraq or Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, including “proceeds, obligations, or any financial instruments” related to the sale or marketing of such products. The scope of this E.O. was amended in November 2004 to include property owned or held by, or on behalf of, the Central Bank of Iraq. Citing significant alteration of the situation that precipitated the 2003 E.O., including “the Government of Iraq’s progress in resolving and managing the risk associated with outstanding debts and claims arising from actions of the previous regime,” E.O. 13,668 terminated immunities from the judicial process for assets of the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and the Central Bank of Iraq. The E.O., however, maintained the national emergency declared in E.O. 13,303.
On July 8, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13,671, “Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency With Respect to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” in response to “the continuation of activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the surrounding region, including operations by armed groups, widespread violence and atrocities, human rights abuses, recruitment and use of child soldiers, attacks on peacekeepers, obstruction of humanitarian operations, and exploitation of natural resources to finance persons engaged in these activities[.]” E.O. 13,671 amends E.O. 13,413 signed by President Bush on October 27, 2006, to broaden the bases for designating SDNs pursuant to the E.O.s. Added particular emphasis is placed on targeting those found to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly: actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo or that undermine its democratic processes or institutions; the targeting of women, children, or any civilians through the commission of acts of violence, abduction, forced displacement; attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or other locations where civilians seek refuge; the use or recruitment of children by armed groups or armed forces; the obstruction of the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian assistance; and attacks against United Nations missions, international security presences, or other peacekeeping operations.
On January 2, 2015, President Obama signed Executive Order 13,687, “Imposing Additional Sanctions with Respect to North Korea”, in response to North Korea’s “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies,” which, most notably, included the recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment and related threats against movie theaters and their patrons. The targeted sanctions aim to increase financial pressures on North Korea by blocking designated persons’ property and interests that are in the U.S. or come under the control of a U.S. person. Under the sanctions, the designated persons will be denied access to the U.S. financial systems, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with such designated persons.
Pursuant to the E.O., the Treasury Department designated three entities and ten individuals for being agencies or officials of the North Korean government. The designated entities are the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), which is North Korea’s primary intelligence organization, the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), North Korea’s primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons, and the Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, which is responsible for the procurement of commodities and technologies to support North Korea’s defense research and development programs.
On December 18, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014. The Act authorizes sanctions, including asset blocking and revocation of visas, in connection with violence perpetrated on antigovernment protesters in Venezuela. The sanctions may be placed on foreign persons, including present and former officials of the Government of Venezuela or any persona acting on behalf of the Government of Venezuela, found to have ordered or directed serious acts of violence or serious human rights abuses in Venezuela against persons associated with antigovernment protests, to have ordered or directed the arrest of persons primarily because the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly, or to have knowingly assisted in the foregoing conduct.
On May 2, 2014, OFAC amended and reissued in their entirety the Syrian Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 542 (SSR). The SSR were amended to implement executive orders issued by the President in connection with the national emergency in Syria. The regulations also codify general licenses and licensing policies that previously were available only on OFAC’s website.
On June 30, 2014, OFAC reissued the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (BSR). The regulations originally were issued to implement Executive Order 13,047, and then amended and reissued in 2005 to implement Executive Order 13,310. The regulations were amended and reissued in 2014 to implement additional executive orders issued by the President in connection with the national emergency declared on May 22, 1997. The reissued regulations also update the general licenses available under the BSR and certain statements of licensing policy.
OFAC issued abbreviated regulations implementing Executive Order 13,664 of April 3, 2014, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to South Sudan”, on July 1, 2014. The regulations, codified at 31 C.F.R. Part 558, will be supplemented with more comprehensive regulations and guidance.
OFAC issued regulations implementing Executive Order 13,667 of May 12, 2014, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic”, on July 7, 2014. The regulations, codified at 31 C.F.R. Part 553 and published in abbreviated form, will be supplemented with more comprehensive regulations and guidance.
OFAC published the Final Rule amending the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations on July 10, 2014. The Final Rule is based on the interim rule with amendments to implement more recent developments.
On February 3, 2014, OFAC issued General License No. 9 to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) authorizing transactions related to the arrest, detention, and judicial sale of Motor Vessel SININ (IMO No. 9274941). The Tanzania flagged vessel is owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and was added to the SDN List on September 10, 2008 as part of the U.S. sanctions on IRISL. The vessel, captured by pirates of the coast of Somalia in 2011 and released after 182 days following payment of a ransom, was arrested in China. The license does not permit the transfer of funds or other property to blocked persons, except as authorized by paragraph (a) of the license. If the vessel is sold by judicial sale, the purchaser will need to provide OFAC with documentation showing that the basis for blocking is no longer applicable in order to have the vessel removed from OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.
(i) February 7, 2014 Publication of Iran General License D-1
General License D-1 (GL D-1) replaces and supersedes General License D (GL D), incorporating significant changes. First, GL D-1 expands the authorization in GL D to permit the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, to Iran of certain personal communications software, hardware, and related services subject to the Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. Parts 730 through 774 (EAR) (rather than just the exportation or reexportation from the United States or by a U.S. person of such software, hardware, and services).
A new Note has been added to paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) clarifying that the authorization in these paragraphs includes the export, reexport, or provision, directly or indirectly, of the authorized items by an individual leaving the United States for Iran. GL D-1 also newly authorizes the import by an individual into the United States of certain hardware and software previously properly exported by the individual to Iran pursuant to other provisions of GL D-1 or 31 C.F.R. § 560.540.
GL D-1 authorizes the export or reexport, directly or indirectly from the United States or by a U.S. person of certain publicly available software and services, provided the publicly available software and services are provided at no cost. With respect to fee-based services, the general license authorizes the export and reexport, directly or indirectly, of certain fee-based services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet from the United States to Iran. The authorized fee-based services include such services as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging. Software associated with the authorized fee-based services that is subject to the EAR may be exported or reexported or provided directly or indirectly to Iran if the software is classified EAR99 or subject to ECCN 5D992.c. Software that is not subject to the EAR because it is of foreign origin and not located within the United States similarly may be exported, reexported or provided directly or indirectly by a U.S. person wherever located, provided the software would have been designated EAR99 if located in the U.S. or meet the criteria for classification under ECCN 5D992.c. if it were subject to EAR.
GL D-1 includes an annex in which are listed additional software and hardware that, if subject to the EAR, may be exported, reexported or provided directly or indirectly to Iran. This authorization also applies to software or hardware listed in the annex, if it is of foreign origin and located outside the U.S. (and therefore not subject the EAR), provided that such software or hardware would be designated EAR99 if located in the U.S. or would meet the criteria for classification under the relevant ECCN specified in the annex. If the software is not subject to the EAR because it is publicly available software described in 15 C.F.R. § 734.39b)(3), as long as it is of a type described in the annex to GL D-1, such software may also be exported, reexported or provided directly or indirectly to Iran by a U.S. person.
GL D-1 also allows the export or reexport from the United States to Iran of consumer-grade Internet connectivity services and the provision, sale, or leasing of capacity on telecommunications transmission facilities (i.e., satellite or terrestrial network connectivity) incident to personal communications. However, this authorization does not include commercial endeavors or domain name registration services.
None of the aforementioned software, hardware, or services may be exported, reexported, or provided to blocked persons. Similarly, the items may not be exported, reexported, or provided to the Government of Iran, unless they are widely available to the public and free for the user. Finally, U.S. depository institutions and U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities may transfer funds from Iran for or on behalf of a person in Iran for a transaction authorized by General License D-1 as long as the transfer is consistent with all federal regulations.
(ii) March 19, 2014 Publication of Iran General License G
General License G (GL-G) authorizes certain academic exchange agreements with Iran. Under the license, U.S. accredited academic institutions may enter into student academic exchange agreements with Iranian universities. Such agreements can include both undergraduate and graduate educational courses, and the provision of scholarships for Iranian students to attend U.S. academic institutions. Additionally, U.S. persons, wherever located, can administer professional certificate examinations and university examinations to individuals located in Iran or to individuals located outside of Iran that are ordinarily resident in Iran. Similarly, U.S. students can attend classes or conduct noncommercial academic research at Iranian universities at the undergraduate level, and at the graduate level in the humanities, social sciences, law, or certain business subjects.
U.S. academic institutions are permitted to export services: (i) to file and process applicants and to accept money from Iranian residents for applications and tuition; (ii) to recruit, hire, or employ in a teaching capacity Iranian residents who are regularly employed in a teaching capacity at an Iranian university, as long as those individuals are not teaching at a U.S. academic institution without an appropriate visa; and (iii) to Iranian residents to participate in online courses at the undergraduate level. Moreover, U.S. persons can export not-for-profit services to Iran that support increased access to education, educational reform projects, and combatting illiteracy. The license does not, however, authorize exporting or reexporting any goods (including software) or technology to the Government of Iran, or to Iran, unless the item is EAR99 or constitutes educational information not subject to the EAR, as set forth in 15 C.F.R. § 734.9, and the export or reexport does not otherwise required a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Likewise, it does not authorize the export or reexport of any service to blocked persons.
(iii) April 7, 2014 Iran/TSRA general license authorizing export/reexport of replacement parts for medical devices
On April 7, 2014, OFAC issued a general license that authorizes the exportation and reexportation of certain replacement parts for certain medical devices to individuals and entities in Iran. The replacement parts covered under the general license must be designated under the EAR as EAR99, or would be so designated if they were located in the U.S. For example, a company located in the U.S. may be authorized under the general license to arrange for the export from a third country to Iran of certain medical devices if those medical devices would be designated as EAR99 if they were located in the U.S. The general license is also limited to a one-for-one export or reexport basis; only one replacement part can be exported or reexported to replace a broken or non-operational component. The general license applies to the export or reexport of these medical devices to the Government of Iran, individuals or entities in Iran or to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to the foregoing. The general license does not authorize the exportation or reexportation of replacement parts for medical devices to military or law enforcement purchasers or imports.
Effective August 11, 2014, OFAC issued General License No. 1A to replace and supersede General License No. 1, dated April 5, 2013, as well as guidance explaining the changes. The definition of “U.S. academic institutions” was expanded to include third-country branch campuses, and the authorizations contained in the general license cover U.S. academic institutions’ contractors. The general license also authorizes activities needed for Sudanese nationals to apply to U.S. academic institutions and to authorized training seminars. The authorized activities may occur before a student visa is issued, and include accepting application fees and tuition payment. The general license also authorizes U.S. financial institutions to process the funds transfers by Sudanese nationals needed to permit participation in authorized academic and training programs.
On November 25, 2014, OFAC published guidance relating to the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) reached between the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China) and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The term of relief–which had already been extended once–was set to expire on November 24, 2014. By mutual consent, on November 24, 2014, the P5+1 and Iran renewed the JPOA until June 30, 2015 (“the Second Extended JPOA Period”).
The parties arrived at the technical understanding of the JPOA on January 12, 2014, and its implementation began on January 20, 2014. The JPOA marked the first time in nearly a decade that the Islamic Republic of Iran, in exchange for some relief from international sanctions, agreed to stop the advance of its nuclear program, reverse aspects of the program, and allow unprecedented access for international inspectors.
As a result of the progress achieved during the JPOA period, but mindful of outstanding differences, the JPOA was first extended, on July 21, 2014, until November 24, 2014, in order to give the parties the time to develop a “comprehensive agreement” (Extended JPOA Period). OFAC re-issued three amended documents in connection with the JPOA. The Guidance Relating to the Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief in Order to Implement the Joint Plan of Action Reached on November 24, 2013, between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, As Extended Through November 24, 2014 describes the impact of the ongoing temporary sanctions relief in connection with certain specific industries and exports: petrochemicals and crude oil, precious metals, the auto industry, civil aviation, and humanitarian support. In addition, it describes how this relief may impact financial transactions related to these fields, how these changes affect non-U.S. persons and entities, and the obligation to obtain an explicit waiver from OFAC before conducting business under these temporary provisions. It also clarified that insurance claims may be paid after the Extended JPOA Period provided all the underlying transactions and activities were in compliance with other sanctions and the terms of the JPOA. Further, the JPOA had authorized the release of $4.2 billion in Iranian revenue, and this extension authorized the release of an additional $2.8 billion. OFAC released FAQs that described the scope of the sanction relief. This included lists of permitted and excluded items and entities, how the changes interacted with other U.S. policies and sanctions related to Iran, the continued prohibitions against transacting with SDNs, and specifics related to the return of foreign-held Iranian revenue and humanitarian support. The third document provided further detail regarding the process of obtaining a license to transact with Iran’s civil (commercial passenger) aviation industry.
The JPOA was extended a second time on November 24, 2014, and on November 25, 2014, OFAC issued Guidance Relating to the Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief in Order to Implement the Joint Plan of Action Reached on November 24, 2013, between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, As Extended Through June 30, 2015. During the period from January 20, 2014 until June 30, 2015, the United States committed to continuing to provide Iran with certain sanctions relief. This relief includes a temporary suspension of certain U.S. sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services, by non-U.S. persons not subject to the ITSR. The JPOA also provides for certain sanctions relief related to Iran’s crude oil sales, including not imposing correspondent or payable-through account sanctions specified under the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations on certain foreign financial institutions that conduct or facilitate transactions for the export of petroleum and petroleum products (and associated insurance) to certain countries. Certain non-U.S. persons are also permitted to engage in activities related to the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in conjunction with the automotive sector of Iran, as well as in activities related to precious metals and civil aviation.
In addition, OFAC released FAQs specifying that Iran will receive $4.9 billion in Restricted Funds during the period beginning on November 25, 2014 and ending on June 30, 2015, as well as a Second Amended Statement of Licensing Policy on Activities Related to the Safety of Iran’s Civil Aviation Industry.
On or about March 5, 2014, OFAC ceased issuing its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) data files in the 32 bit-self extracting archive known as “SDALLW32.EXE”. At the same time, it also ceased issuing its Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) data files in the 31 and 16 bit self-extracting archives, “PLCDAT32.EXE” and “PLC_DAT.EXE”. Instead, OFAC continues to provide and update 32 bit .zip archives, “SDALL.ZIP” and “PLC_DAT.ZIP,” offering the SDN and PLC lists respectively. Through these .zip archives, the SDN and PLC lists are available in XML, CSV, @ sign fixed field delimited, and text versions. These updates may impact automated SDN and PLC download processes, and businesses should ensure that they conform their protocols to ensure they are receiving the most up-to-date information.
OFAC published guidance relating to U.S. sanctions against Burma on April 1, 2014. Measures largely easing financial and investment sanctions were issued beginning on July 11, 2012, and include: (i) General License No. (GL) 16, permitting the export of U.S. financial services to Burma; (ii) GL 17, permitting new U.S. investment in Burma; (iii) GL 18, authorizing the importation of goods of Burmese origin into the U.S.; (iv) GL 19, easing limitations on financial transactions with four of Burma’s blocked banks (Asia Green Development Bank, Ayeyarwady Bank, Myanma Economic Bank, and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank); and (v) Executive Order 13,651, “Prohibiting Certain Imports of Burmese Jadite and Rubies.”
The Guidance clarified which sanctions remain in place. U.S. individuals cannot engage in transactions with blocked persons, and may engage in only limited transactions with the banks discussed in GL 19. Nor can U.S. persons engage in certain activities (including providing security services, exporting financial services, or making new investments) with the Burmese Ministry of Defense, state or non-state armed groups (including the military), or “entities owned 50 percent or more by any of the foregoing.” Finally, jadite and rubies mined from Burma, or jewelry containing them, cannot be imported into the U.S. because of concerns about labor practices and human rights in that industry.
The Guidance explained several other issues related to banking, new investments, reporting requirements, and SDN.
U.S. persons may bank with non-blocked banks in Burma and may engage in “most” transactions with the four banks noted in GL 19. U.S. financial institutions may enter into “direct correspondent relationships” with non-blocked Burmese financial institutions and the four blocked banks listed in GL 19.
GL 16 does not authorize U.S. persons to open accounts with blocked banks, but it “permits transfers of funds even though they may involve transfers to or from an account of a blocked Burmese financial institution.”
(ii) New Investments
“New investment” is defined by 31 C.F.R. § 537.331.
GL 17 authorizes the facilitation of new investments undertaken by U.S. persons, provided they are not pursuant to an agreement “with the Burmese Ministry of Defense, state or non-state armed groups (which includes the military), or entities owned 50 percent or more by any of the foregoing” and do not “involve a transaction” with a blocked person.
GL 17 authorizes investment in a third-country company’s activities in Burma.
Leasing office space used for the sale of good and services may or may not constitute a new investment, depending upon the “facts and circumstances of each particular situation.” Investors are encouraged to “err on the side of caution and report in compliance” with State Department-issued guidance.
GL 19 neither authorizes new investments with nor unblocks property of Asia Green Development Bank, Ayeyarwady Bank, Myanma Economic Bank, or Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank.
U.S. individuals and entities whose aggregate new investment in Burma exceeds $500,000 “over any period” must fulfill the State Department “Reporting Requirements on Responsible Investment in Burma” within 180 days after meeting the threshold and annually thereafter on July 1.
New investments “pursuant to an agreement, or pursuant to the exercise of rights under such an agreement” with Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise must be reported the State Department within 60 days.
(iv) Specially Designated Nationals
Listing or delisting of SDNs “will be pursued as appropriate to meet changing conditions in Burma.”
U.S. persons may sell goods or services to Burmese persons not on the SDN list, but generally may not deal with blocked persons, including SDNs, or entities “50 percent or more owned by such persons.”
(v) Guidance Regarding Executive Order 13,651–Prohibiting Certain Imports of Burmese Jadeite and Rubies
Executive Order 13,651, signed by President Obama on August 6, 2013, reinstated prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of jadeite and rubies that were originally imposed by the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, but which lapsed following the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act’s expiration on July 28, 2013. The E.O. also prohibited any transaction that evades or avoids, or has the purpose of evading or avoiding, any of the prohibitions on importing such goods. Per the Guidance, financial and blocking sanctions are no longer in effect with respect to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) because (i) the SPDC is no longer in existence; and (ii) such sanctions were waived by E.O. 12,651.
On April 7, 2014, OFAC published new FAQs on a final rule amending the ITSR. The rule makes three important changes to the preexisting authorized transactions. First, the rule expands an existing general license that authorizes the exportation and reexportation of food to individuals and entities in Iran to include agricultural commodities. Second, the rule amends certain definitions to relevant OFAC regulations. Finally, the rule adds new general licenses that authorize the exportation or reexportation of certain medicines and replacement parts for certain medical devices. The FAQs largely relate to the scope of and exceptions to general licenses. Specifically, the FAQs describe excluded Iranian persons and entities, excluded agricultural commodities, the list of medicines and medical devices supported by these changes, the application of these sanctions on non-U.S. persons and entities, the impact on certain financial brokerage services, and how to obtain a license.
OFAC upgraded its SDN Search tool, renaming it the Sanctions List Search (SLS) on June 9, 2014. The upgraded version now allows users to search for a name on both the SDN List and Foreign Sanctions Evaders List–independently or simultaneously. The core improvement is a new “fuzzy logic” algorithm that expands search results. In addition to returning “exact matches” for searched names, the SLS now returns names that may be phonetic matches or spelled with similar patterns of characters. These non-exact results come with an SLS score expressing the confidence of a match, to help users ensure their results conform to their risk and compliance needs. All results are viewable on-screen, are printable, and can be saved as a spreadsheet.
On August 13, 2014, OFAC issued Revised Guidance on Entities Owned by Persons Whose Property and Interests in Property are Blocked (Revised Guidance) (a.k.a. the “50% Rule”) updating previous guidance on the subject issued February 14, 2008.
The revised guidance makes an important change/clarification to OFAC’s policy regarding the 50% Rule by stating that “[p]ersons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to an Executive order [sic] or regulations administered by OFAC (blocked persons) are considered to have an interest in all property and interests in property of an entity in which such blocked persons own, whether individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. Consequently, any entity owned in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons is itself considered to be a blocked person.”
This reflects a change from previous, if informal, guidance from OFAC on the subject earlier this year which indicated that entities would only be considered blocked if a single blocked entity owned 50% or more of that entity.
OFAC also released FAQs #398-402, which further clarified the 50% Rule. In the introductory text to the FAQs, OFAC notes that the 50% Rule also applies to entities listed on the new SSI List, but only to the same extent that SSI List entities are themselves restricted (i.e., restrictions on access to capital, but not full blocking). FAQ #398 clarifies that the 50% Rule “speaks only to ownership and not to control. An entity that is controlled (but not owned 50 percent or more) by one or more blocked persons is not considered automatically blocked pursuant to OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule.” However, OFAC was careful to reiterate that caution should be exercised when dealing with entities in which blocked persons have significant ownership stakes less than 50% in aggregate, or over which blocked persons exercise control without majority ownership, as OFAC reserves the right to designate such entities in the future. FAQ #401 clarifies the idea of “indirect” ownership, noting that “‘[i]ndirectly,’ as used in OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule, refers to one or more blocked persons’ ownership of shares of an entity through another entity or entities that are 50 percent or more owned in the aggregate by the blocked person(s).” Providing a series of examples, the FAQ indicates that “indirect” ownership refers only to the concept of chain of ownership through intermediaries.
On September 23, 2014, OFAC released an FAQ concerning “payments or the facilitation of payments to Iranian civil aviation authorities” for overflights of or emergency aircraft landings in Iran “by aircraft owned by a non-U.S. person and registered outside the United States.” The FAQ states that payments for services rendered by the Government of Iran in connection with such overflights or emergency landings are not subject to U.S. sanctions if such transactions do not involve “the U.S. financial system or persons on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) other than any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Iran listed solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599 or any Iranian depository institution listed solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599.” The guidance takes care to note that “the involvement of other persons on the SDN List, including Iranian financial institutions designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224 or Executive Order 13382,” in the relevant transactions would be subject to U.S. sanctions.
In addition, the FAQ makes clear that such transactions are not permissible for U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, and that such transactions may not “transit” the U.S. financial system, although the FAQ notes an exception for “transactions [that] fall within the scope of 31 C.F.R. § 560.522 or a specific license issued by OFAC and the payments in connection with such authorized transactions are consistent with 31 C.F.R. § 560.516.”
OFAC announced on its website on October 10, 2014, that it would start providing in a consolidated set of data files a Consolidated Sanctions List containing all of its non-SDN sanctions lists (including the Non-SDN Palestinian Legislative Council List “NS-PLC List,” the Part 561 List, the Non-SDN Iran Sanctions Act List “NS-ISA List,” the Foreign Sanctions Evaders List “FSE List,” and the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List “SSI List”). OFAC noted that although the Consolidated Sanctions List is separate from OFAC’s SDN list, some of its records may also appear on the SDN List. OFAC created this consolidated list in an effort “to reduce the number of list-related files that must be downloaded in order to maintain an automated sanctions screening program.”
In addition, OFAC upgraded its Sanctions List Search tool to enable users to simultaneously search for a name on either or both the SDN List and the Consolidated List. OFAC noted that in about six months, it would stop issuing independent data files for certain lists, but that it would also continue providing and updating independent human readable versions of certain lists. Further, some minor administrative changes to the non-SDN list data has occurred as a result of this list consolidation effort.
On October 17, 2014, OFAC issued guidance clarifying the applicability of sanctions for nonprofit non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the provision of humanitarian assistance. At the outset of its guidance, OFAC affirms its “longstanding” policy to use its licensing authority to support humanitarian relief efforts, noting that even “[w]here such transactions are not otherwise exempt or authorized pursuant to OFAC general licenses, OFAC has long had a favorable specific licensing policy supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance notwithstanding economic sanctions, especially in countries subject to comprehensive economic sanctions.”
OFAC provides six specific points of clarification. First, OFAC clarifies that the use of economic sanctions against regimes or groups carrying out violence against civilians is intended to complement objectives of humanitarian assistance. Next, the guidance provides that general licenses are issued by OFAC where appropriate, and prioritizes “license applications, compliance questions, and other requests” from NGOs seeking to provide humanitarian assistance.” Third, it provides that as long as NGOs are not “dealing” with persons blocked by sanctions they do not need a license in order to provide humanitarian assistance in countries that are not subject to comprehensive sanctions (including Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, and Côte d’Ivoire).
OFAC also clarifies that NGOs may make payments, including “taxes” or “access payments” to armed groups whose leaders have been designated by OFAC but the group itself has not been designated. However, NGOs should ensure they conduct proper due diligence in such situations; for example, NGOs should ensure that an SDN is not profiting from such transactions. In addition, NGOs operating in areas in which designated armed entities (including those listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists) are prevalent should be careful not to provide “financial, material, technological, or other services” to or in support of the designated entity. Even so, OFAC acknowledges that in dangerous and unstable environments some humanitarian assistance may “unwittingly end up in the hands of members of a designated group;” OFAC sanctions enforcement is not focused on such “incidental benefits.”
Further, the guidance provides that NGOs should contact OFAC directly if they encounter a situation in which urgent humanitarian assistance is needed, but in order to provide such assistance it is necessary for the NGO to provide funds or material support directly or indirectly to an SDN group. OFAC states in the guidance that it and the interagency will work with the NGO “on a case-by-case basis in an expeditious manner” to address such issues.
Between January and March 2013, OFAC received 396 license applications requesting authorization to export agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iran and Sudan. OFAC issued 443 licensing determinations (230 of which were received in the same quarter). During this quarter, OFAC issued 260 licenses, 53 license amendments, 69 “return-without-action” determinations and one denial. Of the 260 licenses issued, 243 involved products for Iran and 17 for Sudan.
Between April and June 2013, OFAC received 348 license applications requesting authorization to export agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iran and Sudan. OFAC issued 399 licensing determinations (217 of which were received in the same quarter). Of the determinations, 250 licenses were issued, 72 license amendments were released, 26 were “return-without-action” determinations, and no denial letters were issued. Of the 250 licenses, 221 involved products for Iran and 29 for Sudan.
Between July and September 30, 2013, OFAC received 298 applications. OFAC issued 324 determinations (203 of which were for applications received in the same quarter). Of the determinations, 114 licenses were issued, 46 license amendments, and 26 “return-without-action” determinations. OFAC issued one denial. Of the 114 issued licenses, 92 involved products for Iran and 22 for Sudan.
The Report compiles information regarding assets in the United States of designated terrorist and state sponsors of terrorism. Regarding Specially Designated Global Terrorists, Specially Designated Terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as of 2013, funds totaling approximately $22 million were blocked pursuant to these terrorist sanctions programs. The Report lists $2.3 billion in funds blocked in connection with state sponsors of terrorism, (Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria), and $32 million in non-blocked funds for residents and entities of state sponsors of terrorism.
The Biennial Report summarized TSRA-related activities for the period from October 2010 through September 2012 (hereinafter “Reporting Period”). OFAC reported an 11.6 percent increase in the number of license applications in the Reporting Period over the period from October 2008 through September 2010 (hereinafter the “Preceding Period”). The license applications were split 91.2 percent for Iran, 8.8 percent in connection with trade to Sudan. According to the report, the processing time for license applications increased to 93 days from 88 days during the Preceding Period. The time to process licensing determinations increased from 73 business days to 75 business days during the Reporting Period. In explaining the current processing time, OFAC noted the review by other agencies (to screen transactions for persons that promote international terrorism, as well as chemical, biological, WMD risk and export control issues), in addition to the complexity, volume and length of the license applications.
Between October 1 and December 31, 2013, OFAC received 306 license applications requesting authorization to export agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iran and Sudan. OFAC issued 265 licensing determinations (175 of which were received in the same quarter). Of the determinations, 99 licenses were issued, 21 license amendments were released, 44 were “return-without-action” determinations, and one denial letter was issued. Of the 99 licenses issued, 81 involved products for Iran and 18 for Sudan.
Between January and March 2014, OFAC received 373 applications. OFAC issued 378 licensing determinations, 232 of which were for applications received during the quarter. OFAC issued 160 licenses, 32 amendments, 94 applications were “returned without action” and 5 applications were denied. Of the 160 licenses issued, 137 involved Iran and 23 involved Sudan.
Clearstream Banking S.A. allegedly violated the ITSR by maintaining an account at a U.S. financial institution in which the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) maintained a beneficial ownership interest. From December 2007 to June 2008, Clearstream held said account in custody at a central securities depository in the United States. The account was composed of 26 securities with a nominal value of $2.813 billion. Due to the nature of Clearstream’s account in New York, the CBI’s beneficial ownership was not transparent to the U.S. financial institution. In addition to holding the securities on the CBI’s behalf, Clearstream also exported custody and related services from the United States to the CBI. In 2007 and 2008, OFAC officials met with Clearstream to discuss ending their business with Iranian clients. Yet, in February 2008, Clearstream took evasive action per their client’s instruction, transferring the securities entitlements from the CBI’s account to a European bank’s newly-opened account. This allowed CBI to continue to hold its interest in the securities through Clearstream and buried CBI’s interest deeper in the custodial chain since the record ownership of the securities entitlement changed but the beneficial ownership did not.
Based on the totality of the circumstances, OFAC determined that Clearstream had reason to know that the CBI was maintaining beneficial ownership of the securities. OFAC also determined that Clearstream did not voluntarily self-disclose the apparent violations and that said violations were reckless and constituted an egregious case. The base penalty for the matter was $5.626 billion and Clearstream agreed to remit $151,902,000 to settle potential civil liability for its actions.
In reaching a settlement amount, the aggravating factors OFAC considered included Clearstream’s reckless failure to perform sufficient due diligence when it transferred the securities entitlement to another financial institution’s custody account with Clearstream; that several employees including at least one supervisor and senior executive had reason to know that the CBI’s beneficial ownership would not change following the transfer and the significant harm Clearwater’s actions caused to U.S. sanctions objectives. The mitigating factors OFAC considered included the significant remedial actions Clearwater took, such as implementing best practices and enhancing controls to prevent recurrence of violations; the substantial cooperation Clearwater demonstrated during the investigation, including agreeing to toll the statute of limitations; the lack of prior enforcement action and the totality of the circumstances to ensure a proportional enforcement response. A spokesperson for Clearstream specified some of the remedial actions taken, including better regulation of omnibus accounts, regular know-your-customer checks and the designation of a board member exclusively to the topic.
OFAC emphasized that its action highlights the particular risks faced by intermediaries, custodians and other firms operating in the international securities market. OFAC suggested other steps that such firms could take, including making their customers aware of sanctions obligations, conducting due diligence and monitoring accounts for suspicious activities. Despite the resolution of Clearstream’s civil liability, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York recently opened a grand jury investigation into Clearstream’s alleged violations of Iranian sanctions laws. The investigation is part of a lawsuit brought by family members of the victims of the 1983 Beirut terrorist attack, who accuse Iran of supporting the perpetrators of the attack.
Joint Stock Commercial “Bank of Moscow” allegedly violated Executive Order 13,382 and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 544, based on its transfer of funds on behalf of Bank Melli Iran Zao, Moscow, Russia (BMI Russia). From January 2008 to July 2009 Bank of Moscow sent 69 fund transfers totaling $41,306,113 on behalf of BMI Moscow, which had been designated by OFAC on October 2007 pursuant to Executive Order 13,382. The fund transfers were processed to or through the United States but the payment messages sent in connection with them used abbreviations instead of specifically referring to BMI Russia and were thus processed without intervention.
OFAC determined that the Bank of Moscow did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations and that the violations constituted a non-egregious case, warranting a base penalty of $14,063,000. The Bank of Moscow agreed to remit $9,492,525 to settle potential civil liability for its actions. In determining the settlement amount, OFAC considered aggravating factors including the Bank of Moscow’s failure to exercise an appropriate degree of caution or care in avoiding the conduct that led to the alleged violations; the significant harm that its actions caused to the U.S. sanctions program objectives; its status as a large and commercially sophisticated financial institution; and its lack of an adequate compliance program at the time of the alleged violations. Among the mitigating factors OFAC considered included the Bank of Moscow’s lack of sanctions in the preceding 5 years; its remedial action to improve compliance with U.S. laws; and its cooperation with the investigation by agreeing to toll the statute of limitations. OFAC also noted that this matter highlights the particular sanctions risk faced by foreign financial institutions that maintain accounts for persons subject to OFAC sanctions and conduct significant business through the U.S. financial system.
CWT B.V. (CWT) allegedly violated the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR), 31 C.F.R. Part 515, by dealing in property in which Cuba or its nationals had an interest when it provided services related to travel to or from Cuba to 44,430 people. The services, which occurred from August 2006 to November 2012, were provided by CWT business units outside the United States. CWT, incorporated in the Netherlands, became subject to U.S. jurisdiction when it became majority owned by U.S. persons in 2006. OFAC determined that CWT voluntarily self-disclosed the violations and only a small portion of the alleged violations occurred after CWT filed its self-disclosure. The base penalty for CWT’s apparent violations was $11,093,500.
CWT agreed to pay $5,990,490 to settle potential civil liability for its actions. In reaching the settlement amount, OFAC considered a number of factors including CWT’s failure to exercise a minimal degree of caution or care regarding its obligations to comply with the CACR by processing transactions for more than four years before recognizing that it was subject to U.S. jurisdiction; CWT’s status as a commercially sophisticated international corporation; the significant harm that CWT caused to the sanction objectives due to the large number of transactions and people it assisted and CWT’s non-existent or inadequate compliance program. The mitigating factors OFAC considered included the fact that this was CWT’s first violation; CWT’s substantial cooperation during the investigation including agreeing to toll the statute of limitations and providing OFAC with detailed and well organized documents; and the significant remedial action CWT took.
Decolar.com Inc. (Decolar) allegedly violated the CACR by dealing in property in which Cuba or Cuban nationals had an interest when its foreign subsidiaries assisted 17,836 persons with reservations for travel between Cuba and countries other than the United States. The travel services were provided from March 2009 to March 2012 and were done without OFAC permission. OFAC determined that Decolar voluntarily self-disclosed this matter, that the apparent violations occurred prior to agency notice and that the base penalty for the violations was $4,460,000.
Decolar agreed to pay $2,809,800 to settle potential civil liability arising out of its actions. In reaching a settlement agreement, OFAC considered a number of factors, including the reckless disregard for U.S. sanctions requirements that Decolar exhibited by relying on third party assertions that it did not require an OFAC license rather than conducting due diligence; the number of violations and length of time over which they occurred; senior management’s awareness that its foreign subsidiaries were providing Cuba related travel services to third country nationals; Decolar’s status as a sophisticated services provider and the lack of a compliance program at the time of the alleged violations. Among the mitigating factors that OFAC considered included the fact that Cuba related transactions were a small portion of Decolar’s overall business; the lack of prior enforcement action; Decolar’s immediate halt of its provision of Cuba related travel services; its adoption of OFAC compliance policies; and its cooperation with the investigation, including provision of information in a clear and organized fashion.
Fokker Services B.V. (FSBV) allegedly violated the ITSR, and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR), 31 C.F.R. Part 538, by indirectly exporting spare aircraft parts to Iran on 1,112 occasions and to Sudan on 41 occasions from November 2005 to September 2010. FSBV indirectly exported or re-exported parts to Iranian customers that had been procured or repaired in the United States or which were of U.S. origin and subject to export license requirements independent of ITSR. Similarly, FSBV exported or re-exported parts to Sudanese customers or end users that were either procured or repaired in the United States or were subject to additional licensing requirements.
OFAC determined that FSBV had voluntarily self-disclosed this matter, and that the violations constituted an egregious case with a base penalty of $145,492,023. FSBV agreed to pay $50,922,208 to settle its potential civil liability. FSBV’s settlement was part of a global settlement which also included the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO). FSBV will satisfy its liability with the payment of a $10.5 million civil monetary payment to OFAC and BIS, a forfeiture of an additional $10.5 million to the USAO pursuant to their deferred prosecution agreement, the acceptance of responsibility for its egregious conduct and its adherence to all other terms and conditions of the agreements with the involved agencies.
In reaching a settlement amount, OFAC considered a number of factors including, FSBV’s willful and reckless violation of U.S. law due to its knowledge that it was shipping U.S. origin parts to customers in Iran and Sudan; the significant harm FSBV caused to the objectives of the sanctions programs due to the volume and value of the transactions; FSBV’s status as a sophisticated and experienced aerospace services provider; its lack of a formal compliance program when the incidents occurred; and its failure to institute controls to completely stop the infractions once discovered. Among the mitigating factors OFAC considered included FSBV’s lack of previous sanctions violations; FSBV’s new and more effective internal controls, especially with respect to its export compliance program; and the substantial assistance FSBV provided during the investigation, including conducting an internal investigation, producing well organized records and agreeing to toll the statute of limitations.
BNP Paribas (BNPP) and OFAC agreed to a settlement of $963 million as part of an overall $8.9 billion settlement with various federal and state agencies. The settlement, the largest ever in OFAC history, resolved the matter that involved over 3,800 payment transactions processed from 2005 to 2012 in apparent violation of the SSR, the ITSR, the CACR and the BSR. The settlement agreement states that BNPP omitted references to or replaced the names of sanctioned parties in transactions to or through the United States. The payments occurred in various BNPP branches and subsidiaries, but the majority of the payments were facilitated or conducted by BNPP’s subsidiary in Switzerland (BNPP Suisse) and branch in France.
The statutory maximum and base civil monetary penalty were $19.2 billion. In the Settlement Agreement, OFAC noted that the conduct occurred notwithstanding advice from a U.S. law firm regarding potential exposure, and occurred also after OFAC contacted BNPP regarding BNPP Suisse’s business activities with Iran and Sudan. OFAC concluded that the violations constituted an egregious case. OFAC also noted BNPP’s cooperation and global remedial actions, which included the relocation of the group responsible for sanctions policies from France to the United States, enhanced sanctions compliance resources and compliance review procedures.
Epsilon Electronics, Inc. (Epsilon) was assessed a penalty of $4,073,000 for violating the ITSR. Epsilon issued 39 invoices for audio video equipment to a company that shipped most if not all of its goods to Iran. Accordingly, Epsilon knew, or had reason to know, that the items would be shipped to Iran. Further, five of the invoices were issued after Epsilon received a letter from OFAC cautioning Epsilon regarding the general prohibition on exports and reexports of U.S. goods to Iran. OFAC determined that the five invoices represented an egregious case and the prior 34 invoices were not egregious. OFAC noted a number of aggravating circumstances including the fact that Epsilon displayed reckless disregard for U.S. sanctions when it shipped to a company that it knew or had reason to know would ship the items to Iran; Epsilon attempted to conceal its sales to Iran by altering its Web site; the sales displayed a pattern of conduct; the value of the goods at more than $3.4 million; providing false information in response to a subpoena; and the fact that Epsilon continued shipping after it received OFAC’s cautionary letter. With respect to mitigating factors, OFAC noted that Epsilon had not received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation in the five years prior to the transactions at issue; Epsilon was a small company; and Epsilon cooperated by agreeing to toll the statute of limitations.
Citigroup Inc. (Citigroup) settled alleged violations of the ITSR, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations, or the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations. The company agreed to remit a total of $217,841 to OFAC. The bank’s Malaysian trade services unit, Citigroup Trade Services Malaysia (Citi Penang), allegedly processed four export bill collection applications on behalf of Citibank N.A. that involved the shipment of good to Iran. The applications totaled $638,074.15 and were processed between April and November of 2009. Although documentation referred to Iran and IRISL, the Citi Penang operators did not review the bills of landing, certificates of origin or shipment advice. Citi Penang disclosed voluntarily the transaction to OFAC.
Additionally, on February 9, 2010, January 12, 2011, March 8, 2011 and October 29, 2012, the bank allegedly processed four fund transfers totaling $133,786.73 involving entities that appeared on OFAC’s SDN List. Citigroup’s software did not properly identify these references to the SDN List, one of which was a variation of an SDN name. The company, however, took remedial action and implemented a programmatic fix to address the name variation issue. In addition, three of the four fund transfers were blocked by U.S. financial institutions, reducing any potential impact of the transfers on U.S. sanctions objectives. The base penalty amount for the potential violations was $484,091. Citigroup’s remedial actions and cooperation with OFAC were mitigating factors that significantly reduced the final settlement amount to $217,841–less than half of the base penalty amount.
Zulutrade, Inc. (Zulutrade) agreed to pay $200,000 to avoid potential civil liability for apparently violating the ITSR, the SSR, and Executive Order 13,582, “Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to Syria.” Beginning in 2009, the company maintained online trading accounts for over 400 persons in Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Also, $10,264.36 in fund transfers originated from the Zulutrade website. Zulutrade had failed to take any measures to screen or monitor their customer base for the purpose of complying with OFAC, and the base penalty for the violations was $844,090,000. Although the company did not self-disclose the violations, OFAC considered the violations non-egregious because of mitigating factors such as: the small size of the company, their remedial actions in response to the apparent violations, their lack of penalty notices or Findings of Violation in the five years prior to the earliest violation, and their cooperation with OFAC.
Bupa Insurance Company (BIC), Bupa Worldwide Corporation (BWW) and USA Medical Services Corporation (USAMED), (collectively “Bupa Florida”), a group of Florida corporations, agreed to remit $128,704 to avoid potential civil liability for 39 apparent violations of the Narcotics Trafficking Sanctions Regulations, the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations, and the CACR. The violations occurred between March of 2008 and March of 2011 when the corporations provided health insurance coverage and processed reimbursements for persons on OFAC’s SDN List. Bupa Florida apparently misinterpreted the scope of OFAC regulations and did not monitor or screen health insurance policyholders, dependents, or providers against the SDN List. BWW and USAMED also provided insurance support services to BIC and other insurers for policies that were issued to, or provided coverage for individuals on the SDN List. The total transaction value for the violations was $190,672.68 and the base penalty amount was $95,337. OFAC determined that Bupa Florida voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations and that the violations were non-egregious. However, there were a number of aggravating factors that led to the settlement amount including: Bupa Florida acted with reckless disregard for OFAC requirements and failed to exercise a minimal degree of caution; Bupa Florida had actual knowledge or reason to know about the policyholders being on the SDN List; and Bupa Florida did not have a compliance program in place at the time of the violations.
ESCO Corporation (ESCO) agreed to pay $2,057,540 to avoid potential civil liability for apparent violations of the CACR. Around November 7, 2007, the company’s subsidiary purchased nickel briquettes that were made, or derived, from nickel of Cuban origin. The total transaction value for the violations was $6,188,149 and the base penalty was $3,048,208. OFAC found that aggravating factors included: ESCO acted with reckless disregard for the Cuba sanctions, ignoring red flags that the briquettes were made with Cuban nickel; ESCO caused significant harm to the Cuba sanctions program by conduction large-volume and high-value transactions with SDNs; and ESCO is a commercially sophisticated company. Mitigating factors included: ESCO had not received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation from OFAC in the five years prior to the first violation; ESCO remedied its compliance plan and did a thorough look-back; and ESCO cooperated with OFAC, including extending a statute of limitations tolling agreement.
As in our previous year-end updates, the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) sections will be divided into three parts covering: i) legislative developments; ii) case law; and iii) enforcement.
The EU has adopted new or amended existing sanctions with regard to a number of jurisdictions during 2014.
While the majority of the amendments concern updates of the list of persons, entities and groups targeted by existing sanctions (i.e., Afghanistan, Belarus, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Liberia, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe) or an extension of the expiration date (i.e., Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Moldova, and Myanmar), for a number of jurisdictions the developments have been of a more substantive nature, including the adoption of wholly-new sanctions regimes regarding Ukraine/Russia, Yemen, and South Sudan. Our update will commence with Ukraine/Russia, before treating the other jurisdictions in turn.
The EU has repeatedly taken action over the course of 2014 in response to the escalation of the political crisis in Ukraine. The EU first imposed sanctions on March 5, 2014, in light of its concern over reports on human rights violations, violence, intimidation, and missing persons.
The EU’s sanctions are most readily understood when divided into four categories: i) sanctions against former Ukrainian officials for misappropriation of state assets; ii) the designation of individuals and entities for threatening the territorial integrity of Ukraine (largely Ukrainian separatists and their supporters); iii) economic sanctions regarding Crimea and Sevastopol; and (iv) the targeted sectoral sanctions against Russia that focus on the Russian oil industry, on restrictions against the export to Russia of dual-use or military equipment, and which limit a defined list of partially-state owned entities from accessing the EU’s capital markets.
a. The misappropriation sanctions
The EU sanctions first focused on freezing and recovering misappropriated Ukrainian state funds and targeted 18 persons identified as responsible for that misappropriation, including former president Viktor Yanukovych. Another four were added on April 15, 2014. Many of these individuals are challenging their listing in the European courts, but no such cases have yet been heard. European banks and other financial services firms were required to notify the authorities in their respective Member States if they held accounts or assets of such individuals. It is likely that it was such reporting that led to a number of asset seizures in a number of countries as outlined in the Enforcement section below.
b. The designations of those threatening Ukrainian territorial integrity
Due to the continued deterioration of the situation in the following weeks and the failure to take de-escalatory steps by Russia, the EU also imposed sanctions on Russian officials and additional Ukrainian officials. Travel bans and asset freezes were imposed against “persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, including actions on the future status of any part of the territory which are contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution, and persons, entities or bodies associated with them.”
In addition, the designation criteria for these sanctions were amended in May 2014 to also include individuals responsible for “actively supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine the territorial, integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” and their associates, as well as entities in Crimea or Sevastopol whose ownership has been transferred contrary to Ukrainian law.
A second amendment was adopted in July 2014. As such, travel bans and asset freezes may also be imposed against those “responsible for, actively supporting or implementing, actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, or stability or security in Ukraine or which obstruct the work of international organisations in Ukraine” and their associates; and companies, legal entities or bodies “supporting, materially or financially, actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”
The designation criteria for these travel bans and asset freezes were again extended on September 8, 2014 to include legal persons, entities, or bodies conducting transactions with the separatist groups in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
The first designation of individuals and entities leading to the imposition of travel bans and asset freezes within the EU took place on March 21, 2014. Subsequent additions to the lists have taken place on April 15, 2014 April 28, 2014 July 25, 2014 July 30, 2014 September 8, 2014 November 17, 2014 and December 20, 2014. In total 132 individuals and 28 entities and companies have now been designated. The restrictions were last renewed in early September 2014 and are in place until March 15, 2015, when they are likely to be renewed.
c. Economic sanctions regarding Crimea and Sevastopol
Also, in view of Crimea’s annexation by Russia, the EU restricted European investment in and trade with Crimea. The EU has also announced that it expects international financial institutions to refrain from financing projects that explicitly or implicitly recognize Russia’s illegal annexation.
Our alert of August 6, 2014 dealt in detail with the Crimean sanctions as they then stood. Interested readers are advised to consult that alert for greater detail which is not repeated here. In short the EU’s first step was to publish Regulation 692/2014 of June 23, 2014 (the “Crimean Regulation”) which imposed a ban on imports of goods from Crimea or Sevastopol to the EU unless authorized by the Ukrainian authorities. Then in August, the EU amended Regulation 692 to impose significant restrictions on investment, financial assistance and technical assistance or brokering services in the transport, energy, telecommunications, oil, gas, and minerals sectors. These restrictions included a prohibition on the direct or indirect export of largely oil and gas related technology listed in an Annex to the regulation.
On December 18, 2014, the EU amended the Crimean Regulation to extend the sanctions into a number of additional sectors, as well as amending the Annex to include more equipment. The provision of technical assistance, financing or financial assistance or brokering services in relation to all the listed equipment is also now prohibited. Subject only to a very short grandfathering period of two days, the amendments also now prohibit the acquisition of real estate in Crimea or Sevastopol; the investment in any entity in Crimea or Sevastopol; the formation of a joint venture in or with any entity in Crimea or Sevastopol; and the provision of services related to tourism activities in Crimea or Sevastopol, including barring EU cruise ships from entering any of seven listed ports in Crimea, including Sevastopol, Kerch, and Yalta. Additionally, the sanctions regarding the transport, energy, telecommunications, oil, gas, and minerals sectors have been extended to prohibit the provision of technical assistance, brokering, or construction and engineering services.
We fully expect that further sanctions will be imposed regarding Crimea and Sevastopol during the course of 2015.
As mentioned above, our EU Sectoral Sanctions Alert dealt in detail with the Russian sectoral sanctions as they then stood. Additionally, export licenses have been suspended for equipment which might be used for internal repression.
In addition, also in July 2014, the EU requested the European Investment Bank suspend new financing of public sector projects in Russia. The EU would reassess suspending bilateral EU-Russia cooperation programs.
The next significant package of sanctions was adopted at the end of July 2014. In particular, the new sanctions:
i prohibit EU nationals and companies from (i) buying or selling bonds, equity, and other financial instruments with a maturity of over 90 days (on which see below), issued after August 1, 2014 by a defined list of major credit institutions or finance development institutions established in Russia with over 50% public ownership or control, or non-EU entities whose proprietary rights are more than 50% owned by such listed entities; and (ii) providing related services (e.g., brokering). The initial list of such entities was Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank, and Rosselkhozbank;
ii impose an arms embargo, also covering related items and services on the EU common military list;
iii ban exports of dual-use goods and technology for military use in Russia or to Russian military end-users; and
iv ban export of energy-related equipment and technology, unless authorized by the competent authorities of the Member States. In any event, export licenses will not be granted if the products are destined for deep water oil exploration and production, arctic oil exploration or production and shale oil projects in Russia.
Suppliers with contracts concluded before July 30, 2014 and executed before October 28, 2014 were able to apply for an export license with the relevant Member State authorities.
Before this, individual Member States had issued some guidance of their own. For instance on August 12, 2014 the German Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (BAFA) issued guidance, and two days later the UK’s Export Control Organisation issued a Notice to Exporters. Despite the proximity in time, differences were apparent between the approaches adopted. For instance, the UK approach was that if a company was exporting goods listed in Annex II to another Member State, but the company knew that the goods were destined for Russia, it was only the ultimate exporter who was required to apply for a license. The German approach was that a transfer license would be required for the initial transfer in the same circumstances. The two items of guidance also covered different territory. Thus the German Guidance clarified that having a deposit with a listed Russian bank was not prohibited, while the UK Guidance offered assistance on what was meant by “Arctic” (“the area north of the Arctic Circle”), and “Deep water” (noting no definition as such, but drawing attention to the U.S. definition of “greater than 500 feet”).
The EU maintained its robust approach to sanctions relating to the Ukraine situation during the latter part of 2014. Following the cease-fire negotiated in early September, 2014, and almost immediate violations thereof, the EU adopted additional sanctions on September 8, 2014. EU Council President Van Rompuy stated that “the EU stands ready to review the agreed sanctions” depending on the perceived willingness of Russia to comply with the ceasefire.
In particular, the designation criteria for sanctions were once again extended in order to target those conducting transactions with separatist groups. In addition, the existing ban on financial instruments (and related services) issued by major State-owned Russian banks was refined with a number of smaller changes, including a wholly-new Article 5. Importantly, the prohibitions were now extended to cover those instruments with a maturity of greater than 30 days (previously 90 days) and extended to other entities in the defense and oil sectors (i.e., United Aircraft Corporation, Rosneft, Transneft, Gazpromneft, Ural Vagonzavod, and OPK Oboronprom).
One consequence of these sanctions applying to these Russian entities is that there are now two lists of sanctioned entities for the EU and UK. All entities and persons subject to asset freezes remain included in the Consolidated List, while the Russian entities subject to restrictions on access to the EU’s capital markets are not found in the Consolidated List, but are instead only listed in the separate Ukraine: list of persons subject to restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine.
Further, on December 5, 2014, the EU issued Regulation 1290/2014 amending and clarifying some of the existing sanctions. Notably for the purposes of the prohibitions regarding the Russian oil sector, “deep sea” was defined as “waters deeper than 150 metres”, “arctic” was restated as “the offshore area north of the Arctic Circle”, and “shale oil projects” was restated as “projects that have the potential to produce oil from resources located in shale formations by way of hydraulic fracturing; it does not apply to exploration and production through shale formations to locate or extract oil from non-shale reservoirs.” Moreover “Russia” was itself extended to include its Exclusive Economic Zone and its Continental Shelf.
On December 16, 2014, the European Commission published non-binding guidance on the capital markets restrictions. This is in the form of 26 Q&As dealing with the parameters of the trade finance exemption contained in Art. 5(3), and questions of whether securities such as derivatives, interest rate swaps, and depositary receipts fall within or outside the prohibitions, and other issues. The Guidance should be consulted by anyone considering the breadth of the prohibitions on accessing Europe’s capital markets. A noteworthy feature of the Guidance is the aggressive stance taken regarding circumvention. For instance, Question 16 asks whether an EU person can place a term deposit with a sanctioned Russian entity with a maturity over 30 days. The answer states that such term deposits are not prohibited before continuing: “However, where (term) deposits are to be used to circumvent the prohibition on new loans, such deposits would be prohibited under Article 12 [anti-circumvention] in combination with Article 5 of the Regulation.” Thus the Commission is expressing the view that a non-prohibited activity, if undertaken with the intent to evade one of the prohibitions, would constitute an offence.
In response to the EU and U.S. sanctions, on August 7, 2014, Russia imposed, with immediate effect, a one-year ban on certain food imports into Russia, including the import of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products, and a wide range of processed foods from the United States, the EU, Australia, Canada, and Norway. Following these measures, the EU was reported to be planning discussions with Latin American countries to dissuade them from supplying agricultural products to Russia. Several countries, including Brazil and Chile, had stated that the import ban introduced by Russia could offer them a trade advantage.
In addition, Russia has stated it is also considering banning European airlines en route to Asia from flying over Siberia, and that it is “potentially ready” to introduce sanctions in various sectors, including the automobile industry, shipbuilding, and aircraft production.
Further, on September 26, 2014, press reported that Russia barred entry into its territory for Rebecca Harms, a German MEP, despite her diplomatic status, as she had been designated as one of the EU officials who played a role in adopting the EU sanctions targeting Russia. MEP Harms was traveling to attend a court hearing in relation to proceedings against a Ukrainian officer detained in Russia after being captured by pro-Russian Rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has also taken steps to mitigate the effect of the EU sanctions against it. On October 8, 2014, the Russian Parliament carried out a first reading of a draft law which would allow the government to seize foreign-owned assets in order to compensate individuals and entities targeted by western sanctions. The draft legislation must pass through two additional readings before heading to President Putin for signature.
In August 2014, Ukraine itself adopted a law enabling the imposition of sanctions on foreign individuals and entities in response to threats to its national security, breaches of UN Security Council resolutions, and violations of EU regulations and decisions. The government announced it had already identified 172 individuals and 65 entities – mainly Russian – to be considered for the sanctions for “supporting terrorism, the annexation of Crimea and having direct responsibility for crimes on Ukrainian soil.”
In addition, Norway, while not an EU Member State but a member of the European Economic Area, on August 15, 2014, joined the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia, by introducing an arms embargo, a ban on the supply of material and technology for the oil sector and related services, sanctions regarding Crimea and Sevastopol similar to those imposed by the EU (see above), a ban on Russian state-owned banks from taking long- and mid-term loans, and asset freezes and travel bans. In October 2014, Norway announced further strengthening of the restrictions, in line with the package of sanctions adopted by the EU.
In addition to Norway, the EU announced on October 15, 2014 that Ukraine itself, as well as Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Montenegro have aligned, or will do so in the near future, their national policies with the EU sanctions package adopted on September 8, 2014.
Notwithstanding EU Council President Van Rompuy’s statement in September that “the EU stands ready to review the agreed sanctions,” in light of the continued tension in Ukraine, the EU decided in early October to maintain the sanctions, after a discussion on the implementation of the cease-fire. The EU again reviewed the sanctions on November 17, 2014, but considered that in light of the unchanged circumstances in Ukraine, the measures would be maintained. Additional pro-Russia separatists were designated for travel bans and asset freezes.
In October 2014, the EU implemented amendments to the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) targeting Afghanistan, and added 5 individuals to the list of targets. The new designations are reasoned on grounds of the individuals’ involvement as senior members of the Taliban or the Haqqini Network.
In March 2014, the EU amended its sanctions regime regarding the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide for (i) an additional exception to the 2010 arms embargo, (ii) an update of the criteria for designation for travel restrictions and asset freezes, and (iii) a new exception to the ban on provision of certain services for technical assistance, financing and financial assistance related to arms and related material, for the support of or use by the African Union Regional Task Force.
In July 2014, the EU repealed its import ban on diamonds originating in Côte d’Ivoire. At the same time, the EU amended the scope of and exceptions to the embargo on arms and related materials. In particular, supply of materials intended solely for the support or use by the UN operation in Côte d’Ivoire and the French supporting forces, as well as supplies transiting through Côte d’Ivoire intended for support or use by UN Peacekeeping operations are exempt from the embargo.
In April 2014, the EU lifted the arms embargo and the embargo on equipment which might be used for internal repression which had been in force since 2010. The travel bans and asset freezes on members of the National Council for Democracy and Development (or associated persons or entities) remain in place. While the sanctions were set to expire in October 2014, the EU renewed the sanctions on October 20, 2014 until October 27, 2015.
In April 2014, the EU renewed the existing sanctions until April 13, 2015. However, in January 2014, the EU suspended certain restrictive measures for an initial duration of six months. The suspension, originally in force until July 20, 2014, has been prolonged twice and will be applicable until June 30, 2015. All other EU sanctions and restrictions remain in place and in force.
This mitigation followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) of November 24, 2014 between Iran and China, Russia, the United States, France, Germany, and the UK (supported by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) (“P5+1” or “EU3+3”). The JPOA sets out an approach towards reaching a long-term comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. In that regard, the EU temporarily suspended the import ban on petrochemical products, the prohibition on transport of Iranian crude oil, the ban on the provision of certain services where related to petrochemical products or Iranian crude oil, the ban on trade in gold and precious metals with the Iranian government, and the ban on the supply of certain vessels to Iran. The amendments also temporarily increase the thresholds of the restrictions on transfers of funds to and from Iranian persons and provide temporary exceptions to the freezing of funds and economic resources.
In July 2014, the EU amended the basis of its financial sanctions against Iraq and clarified existing financial sanctions. In particular, national authorities of Member States now have to power to authorize the making available of funds and economic resources in certain circumstances, including ordinary living expenses including taxes, rent and medical expenses, professional legal expenses, or bank service charges.
In March 2014, the EU amended the notification requirements concerning exceptions to the ban on provision of certain services, implemented by Council Regulation (EU) 262/2014.
The EU amended, in January 2014, the “non-liability” and “no claim” clauses of its sanctions targeting Libya. Freezing (or refusing to make available) funds or economic resources does not give rise to liability if carried out in good faith, in accordance with EU regulations, and not done negligently. In addition, claims in connection with any contract or transaction, the performance of which has been affected by EU regulation will not be satisfied, if they are made by a Libyan person or entity, designated person/entity, or any party so connected.
In June 2014, the EU implemented UNSC Resolution 2146 (2014) and introduced measures targeting illicit export of crude oil from Libya by (i) requiring flag States of listed vessels to take measures preventing the loading, transport, or discharge of illicitly exported crude oil (including the authorization to inspect the vessel); (ii) prohibiting the provision of bunkering services (i.e., provision of fuel or supplies) to listed vessels; and (iii) restricting financial transactions with respect to illicitly exported crude oil aboard listed vessels.
In addition, in October 2014, the EU implemented UNSC Resolution 2174 (2014) and further amended its sanctions targeting Libya. The amendments are a response to the escalation of hostilities in Libya and target militia and their supporters. In particular, the EU extended the designation criteria for the arms embargo and asset freezes/travel bans to “individuals and entities determined […] to be engaging in or providing support for other acts that threaten the peace, stability or security of Libya, or obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition.”
The EU, on October 8, 2014, amended existing sanctions against North Korea. The sanctions, in force since 2006, target import and export, financial support for trade, and the finance sectors, and also include travel bans and asset freezes.
In particular the amendments provide for (i) the designation for sanctions of Ocean Maritime Management Company Limited for allegedly assisting in a breach of the arms embargo against North Korea; and (ii) the removal from the list of targets of Jon Pyong-ho.
On May 12, 2014, the EU amended the notification requirements concerning certain exceptions to the arms embargo and the ban on related services; implemented by Council Regulation (EU) No 478/2014. In addition, in October 2014 the EU implemented amendments to the UN sanctions and designated two additional individuals for reasons of their position in al-Shabaab.
In July 2014, the EU imposed sanctions targeting “persons obstructing the political process in South Sudan, including by acts of violence or violations of ceasefire agreements, as well as persons responsible for serious violations of human rights in South Sudan.” In particular, the EU introduced (i) an arms embargo; (ii) a prohibition of the provision of arms-related technical assistance and, brokering or other services; (iii) a prohibition of the provision of financing or financial assistance; and (iv) a prohibition on participating–knowingly and intentionally–in activities with the aim of circumventing the sanctions. The measures also provide for standard exceptions for the supply of goods used in certain circumstances for which an export license may be requested from the relevant Member State authorities, such as: human rights monitoring, materials and related services for protective use, materials and related services for institution-building programs or crisis management operations, and de-mining equipment and material. In addition, travel bans and asset freezes were imposed on two individuals. The sanctions are in place until July 12, 2015.
Also in July 2014, the EU separated the relevant sanctions regarding the Sudanese conflict. As such, the previous legal instruments imposing sanctions targeting Sudan was repealed and replaced by two sets of instruments: one targeting Sudan and one targeting South Sudan (see above). The Sudan sanctions also consist of an arms embargo and the prohibition of related services and financing. The measures also provide for the same standard exceptions as for the South Sudan sanctions. In addition, travel bans and assets freezes were imposed on four individuals.
Additional exceptions to the Syria sanctions were adopted in 2013 and early 2014 in order to allow for payments for the verification mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons.
On the other hand, asset freezes and travel bans were imposed on 12 Cabinet ministers, in light of the continuing political deadlock in Syria following President Bashar Assad’s re-election in early June 2014. The newly targeted individuals are considered to be responsible for serious human rights violations. In addition, on July 23, 2014, sanctions were imposed on an additional three individuals and nine entities due to their “involvement in the violent repression of the civilian population or their support to the regime.” Also, one individual has been re-listed following the annulment of the original listing by the European General Court. A second individual who successfully appealed his designation has not been re-listed.
The EU further strengthened its sanctions targeting Syria in October 2014, and added 16 individuals and two entities to the list of targets. The new designations are reasoned on grounds of the individuals being linked to the violent repression of the civilian population, or on grounds of providing support to the Syrian regime.
On December 19, 2014, the EU implemented the UN’s sanctions regarding Yemen. These imposed asset freezes and travel bans on the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as well as the military leaders Abd Al-Khlaiq Al-Huthi and Abdullah Yahya Al Hakim.
Other than for Robert Mugabe and his wife, and the company Zimbabwe Defence Industries, on February 20, 2014 the EU suspended its sanctions against Zimbabwe. In addition, on November 1, 2014, the EU lifted its suspension of aid to Zimbabwe which had been in place since 2002. The sanctions remaining in place consist of an arms embargo and travel ban/asset freeze. The next review of the remaining sanctions is scheduled for February 2015.
In addition to the country-specific changes, on December 31, 2014, the EU’s complete revision of the Dual-Use List contained in Regulation 1382/2014 came into force. This replaces the earlier version dating from 2009 and should be consulted for any equipment or technology capable of military use.
The coming into force in February 2014 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 saw the introduction of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) in the UK. DPAs are now available to prosecutors as an alternative to charging a company in relation to a defined list of offences. Whether by oversight or by design, DPAs will only be available in relation to some sanctions and export control offences. All the offences for which DPAs are now available are listed in Part 2 to Schedule 17 of the Act. Included is the offence of exporting prohibited or restricted goods, but there is no equivalent for importing, nor are any offences listed in relation to breaches of the EU’s financial sanctions. The list of offences for which DPAs might be available can be amended to include any currently omitted “financial or economic crime.” We will closely monitor any changes in this area.
Also in February 2014, the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office launched a consultation into the potential introduction of “contract sanctions,” a potentially new breed of sanctions which would to prevent courts from enforcing contracts entered into with “targeted regimes,” including by persons not otherwise subject to sanctions regimes applicable in that jurisdiction.
On July 18, 2014, HM Treasury in the UK announced a change in policy regarding the treatment of money transfers into the UK, or to a UK-based bank anywhere in the world, from or via a designated person based outside the EU. As of July 31, 2014, HM Treasury will now hold any such transfers in a suspense account which will only be released upon the successful application for a license. The previous policy had not required the freezing of such transfers, but HM Treasury’s Notice stated that this policy change was being adopted to bring the UK in line with the policies in other Member States.
As ever, the implementation in the UK’s various offshore jurisdictions has been uneven, and in many cases it will be wise to conduct specific analysis of whether a particular EU provision has or has not been implemented in a particular jurisdiction. In Bermuda, for instance, the only Russian sanctions in place are the designations of the 18 individuals originally sanctioned by the EU on March 6, 2014. The Isle of Man and Jersey, by contrast, have implemented all of the EU’s sanctions up to and including those published in December 2014. In addition, for the British Overseas Territories of Cayman, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Turks & Caicos, the implementation (done by the UK itself through Orders) has been patchy with the latest Crimean sanctions not implemented and the various extensions to the lists of designated individuals and entities last implemented on April 30, 2014 with the Ukraine (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) No. 3 Order 2014.
In response to criticisms of so many Maltese companies being included amongst those sanctioned under the EU’s Iran sanctions, in August the Maltese government issued a legal notice increasing the penalties for doing business with sanctioned companies. The maximum fine is now €116,468, with a prison term of between one and five years.
Proposed draft Rules of Procedure for the General Court (the EU’s lower court) were sent to the EU Council (the “Council”) for approval on March 14, 2014. Following a public consultation, revised drafts were submitted on November 10, 2014 and on December 4, 2014. During the discussion by the Council’s Working Party on Court of Justice on December 8, 2014, significant consensus was reached on the text, although the UK expressed concerns regarding Article 105. Under this Article, EU institutions would be allowed to rely on undisclosed evidence in actions for annulment, including in sanctions cases. However, past case law consistently held that the rights of defense and effective judicial review require that EU institutions only rely on reasons for designating a target for sanctions if those reasons (and the supporting evidence) have been disclosed to the targeted person.
If approved, the new Rules of Procedure would steer the General Court on a new course, allowing the General Court to take into account evidence not disclosed to the targeted person if such disclosure could harm the security of the EU or its Member States, or the conduct of their international relations. While the General Court would take into account during its assessment the fact that a targeted person has not been fully able to exercise his rights of defense, the draft Rules of Procedure do not require a minimum disclosure of the “essence of the grounds.” This raises a quandary for the General Court, as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights would tend to suggest that disclosure of information necessary to enable a defendant to determine whether it is possible to refute the allegations against them is required under the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is anticipated that this issue will be raised if and when the General Court begins to exercise any such new powers. The text of the draft Rules of Procedure is, at the time of writing, awaiting the confirmation of the Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives before it is submitted to the Council for final approval.
On June 12, 2014, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), the EU’s senior court, considered a question referred by a Lithuanian court in 2013 as to whether the Lithuanian authorities had the discretion to refuse an application for an asset freeze exemption in order to cover legal expenses incurred when appealing that asset freeze.
The CJEU ruled that national authorities do not have an absolute discretion when deciding on a request for a release of frozen funds (in this case, for legal expenses). The review of applicability of an asset freeze exemption must be performed in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. In particular, account should be taken of the fact that applicants to the European courts seeking the annulment of their designation on an EU sanctions list are not able to represent themselves and therefore must retain a lawyer or agent. In that regard, Article 47 of the Charter requires that a freeze of funds may not have the effect of depriving the persons whose funds have been frozen from effective access to justice. The CJEU also found that national authorities may not refuse the application of an asset freeze exemption in order to pay for legal expenses on the sole ground that legal aid would be otherwise available, or that the origin or the acquisition of the funds is possibly unlawful. This may prove to be an important precedent in the context of the sanctions regimes instituted in the months following the so-called Arab Spring regarding the misappropriation of state funds, or the similar Ukrainian sanctions regarding misappropriation.
On September 23, 2014, the General Court annulled the entry of Aliaksei Mikhalchanka in the list of targets for the EU’s sanctions against Belarus. Mr. Mikhalchanka is a journalist working for the Belarusian public TV channel, who had been designated as a target for the EU’s Belarus sanctions in 2011, based on his “senior and influential position” on the State TV channel. In 2012, the Council maintained Mikhalchanka’s listing based on him being the presenter of a specific TV program, which was considered an instrument of State propaganda, and which supports and justifies the repression of the democratic opposition and of civil society. The General Court held that by changing the wording of the reasoning for the listing, the Council had infringed Mikhalchanka’s rights of defence. The Council should have informed Mikhalchanka of the new evidence it intended to use against him and afforded him the opportunity to challenge this evidence in a hearing prior to the Council’s final decision. In addition, the General Court found that the Council had made errors of assessment with regard to the grounds for the 2011 listing, and did not disclose evidence sufficient to demonstrate the influence, actual impact, or responsibility that Mikhalchanka, or the TV program he presented, could have had in violations of international electoral standards or internal repression occurring in Belarus.
Separately, the General Court upheld the listing of the vice-chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Vadzim Ipatau. The General Court concluded that the Council justly considered him, due to his position, jointly responsible for violations of international standards in the presidential election of 2010.
On February 27, 2014, the General Court for the first time ruled on the EU’s sanctions imposed on Egyptian nationals. The General Court rejected the applications and ruled that the European Council had the legal power to impose the restricted measures and had done so on the appropriate legal basis. Furthermore, the General Court held that the measures did not disproportionally restrict the fundamental rights to respect of property, freedom to conduct business and the rights of defense of the targeted persons.
The EU had imposed travel bans and asset freezes on individuals who, it was alleged, had been identified as being responsible for “the misappropriation of State funds.” This was done in the immediate wake of the Arab Spring. Ahmed Ezz and his spouses were designated in March 2011 and applied to the General Court seeking the annulment of their designation. However, the General Court rejected the applicants’ argument that a difference in the French and English language versions regarding the concept of “identified as responsible” indicated that the EU had to wait until a person was criminally convicted before being able to impose sanctions.
The General Court analyzed the concept in detail and concluded that “identified as responsible” for the misappropriation of State funds covers five categories of persons, i.e., individuals (i) found guilty after judicial proceedings; (ii) found to be their accomplices by a criminal court; (iii) currently being prosecuted; (iv) currently being prosecuted as an accomplice; and (v) subject to judicial proceedings associated with individuals subject of connected criminal proceedings. The General Court held that this also includes individuals such as the applicants who, “possibly without their knowledge, may have benefited from the proceeds of the ‘misappropriation of Egyptian State funds’ and on that basis are subject to protective measures, prescribed in a judicial context, intended to preserve the assets arising from such misappropriation.”
On November 25, 2014, the General Court for the first time awarded damages to an applicant seeking the annulment of its designation as a target for EU sanctions. Safa Nicu Sepahan was designated in 2011 based on being a communications firm that supplied equipment for the Fordow (Qom) facility which was built without being declared to the IAEA. The General Court agreed with Safa that the Council’s reasons were factually incorrect, considering (i) it was not a communications firm; and (ii) it did not supply equipment to the facility in question. The General Court concluded that the Council did not have sufficient evidence to have designated the company. Unlike previous cases, in which the General Court refused to grant a claim for damages under Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU due to the Council’s breach of EU law being insufficiently serious to warrant an award of damages or due to insufficient evidence that the applicant had suffered losses because of its inclusion on the sanctions list in question, the General Court granted Safa’s damages claim in part. The General Court agreed with the applicant’s arguments that, due to the Council’s error, it had suffered damage to its reputation, which affected the behavior of third parties (mainly non-EU persons) towards it. This damage was not compensated by the mere annulment of the listing. The Council’s error in failing to confirm the facts and gather sufficient evidence to reason a listing was found to be sufficiently serious. It should be noted that the awarded damages are rather limited. While the applicant claimed EUR 7.66 million (approx. USD 10.17 million), including EUR 2 million (approx. USD 2.65 million) as compensation for the damage to its reputation, the General Court awarded EUR 50,000 (approx. USD 60,000). In line with its previous approach, the General Court rejected in its entirety the applicant’s claim for material damages (suffered in the form of closed bank accounts, suspension of payments, and the termination of commercial relations by European suppliers) due to insufficient evidence. Nonetheless, if more applicants succeed in obtaining damages and as the evidential criteria for damages become identified and refined, Safa Nicu Sepahan v. Council may come to be seen as a watershed case.
Several banking entities and/or bankers have been successful in seeking the annulment of their designations. In particular, the General Court annulled the designations of two bankers employed by Melli Bank Plc (the UK subsidiary of Bank Melli Iran) on June 4, 2014. While the bank itself was unsuccessful in its own action, the General Court found that the EU Council may only designate the employees if it was proven that they provided support for, or were acting on behalf of or at the direction of an entity involved in, nuclear proliferation. Accordingly, the Council did not sufficiently establish that the two individuals served as a link between Melli Bank (their employer) and Bank Melli Iran. The General Court found that the possibility that Bank Melli Iran could exert pressure on the entity it owns was insufficient to establish that the targeted individual would succumb to such pressure and act at Bank Melli Iran’s direction, or provide support for nuclear proliferation at its instigation. The General Court considered this especially unlikely in light of the target’s exemplary conduct in the past. Moreover, the restrictive measures concerned the target’s personal funds, not the funds of Melli Bank, which would render immaterial the question whether there was a risk that the target would misuse Melli Bank’s funds at the direction of Bank Melli Iran in contravention of existing sanctions.
Also on June 4, 2014, the General Court annulled the re-listing of Sina Bank. While the original designation of Sina Bank was annulled in 2012 for a lack of sufficient reasoning, the Council maintained the listing following a full review of the Iranian sanctions lists. Sina Bank brought new actions before the General Court claiming the Council had breached its rights of defence, as the Council had not informed it of the reasons for its continued designation, nor the evidence on which this decision was based. The General Court agreed with the bank and held that it should have been provided with any evidence that was not included in the original, unlawful listing, and should have been given the opportunity to discuss this evidence in a hearing prior to the Council’s final decision.
Considering that the listing of Sina Bank was annulled, the designation of Abdolnaser Hemmati, based on his position in Sina Bank, was automatically annulled. On November 7, 2014, the EU re-listed Sina Bank (and several other Banks) as a target for the EU’s sanctions against Iran, based on new reasoning.
In addition, on July 10, 2014, the General Court annulled the designation of Moallem Insurance. Moallem Insurance had been targeted in 2012 on grounds of being the “main insurer of IRISL.” The General Court agreed with Moallem’s argument that this reasoning was factually incorrect, considering its ownership structure and composition are not those of a company which is capable of being IRISL’s main insurer. Moallem also argued that the Council had produced no evidence in support of its allegations. The evidence submitted to the General Court was either disclosed only after the application was brought or did not contain sufficient evidence to support the Council’s allegations.
The General Court rejected the application of National Iranian Oil (NIOC) on July 16, 2014. NIOC had been designated in 2012 as a State-owned entity “which provides financial resources to the Iranian government, whose Chairman is a minister and CEO a deputy minister.” The General Court rejected NIOC’s arguments with regard to lack of legal basis, insufficient reasoning, the legality of the designation criteria, the violation of the principles of proportionality, the breach of rights of property, defense and effective judicial protection, and manifest errors of assessment.
On September 18, 2014, the General Court annulled the designation of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). The Bank had been listed in 2012 due to its “involvement in activities to circumvent sanctions.” However, the General Court found that merely repeating one of the listing criteria without further supporting evidence was not sufficient, as no indication was given as to why this criterion applied to CBI. In particular, “the Council does not refer to any identifiable transaction, or to any particular assistance,” thereby denying CBI the full enjoyment of its rights of defense.
It should also be noted that while the North Drilling Company successfully sought the annulment of its designation in 2013, the EU relisted the company in April 2014 based on new reasons. The EU considers the company to provide financial support to Iran through being indirectly owned by the Mostazafan Foundation, a major Iranian para-statal entity controlled by the Government of Iran and through providing imported key equipment for the oil and gas industry, including prohibited goods. Re-listing of this kind, after the individuals and/or companies targeted had successfully brought actions before the General Court seeking to annul their designation, has occurred before.
On September 24, 2014, the General Court annulled the designation of Al Kadhaf Dam as a target for the EU’s sanctions imposed against Libya. The applicant was designated in 2011 on grounds of being a cousin of Colonel Gaddafi, participating in the planning of operations against Libyan rebels, and organizing an army unit. The applicant was re-listed in April 2013 on the basis of the same reasoning. However, the General Court concluded that the Council’s relisting of the applicant occurred after the Libyan civil war and the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. In addition, the applicant had at the time already resigned. As such, the General Court found that the Council failed to provide sufficient reasons for the 2013 designation.
On June 11, 2014, the General Court annulled a listing on the EU’s Syria sanctions list for the first time. While the General Court has ruled on Syrian sanctions listings before, this was the first time it has annulled a Syrian designation. The General Court concluded that the listing of Syria International Islamic Bank (SIIB), based on providing financial support to the Syrian regime and assistance to two banks in their efforts to circumvent existing sanctions, was not based on sufficient evidence of actual assistance with such transactions. Importantly, the General Court did not consider the fact that SIIB had been sanctioned by OFAC as being at all relevant for the purposes of maintaining an EU designation.
While the General Court annulled the designation, it rejected SIIB’s application for approx. EUR 10 million (approx. USD 13.28 million) in damages. The General Court found that SIIB had not proved the EU sanctions had caused it to suffer loss and damage.
In addition, the General Court annulled the designations of three individuals, which had been listed in 2011 on grounds of being associates of Maher Al Assad and/or providing financial support to the Syrian regime or even being directly involved in the violent repression of the Syrian civilian population. The General Court applied the principles set out in the CJEU’s Kadi judgments, and found that it was for the Council to provide sufficient evidence supporting its reasons for the listings where the claimant challenges these reasons. The burden of proof in such a scenario is on the Council, not on the applicant; the applicants’ rights of defense and right to a fair trial under Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights were infringed.
On the other hand, the General Court rejected the application for annulment by the governor of the Syrian Central Bank (SCB), Adib Mayaleh. Mr. Mayaleh was designated in 2012 on grounds of providing financial support to the Syrian governments in his capacity as governor of the SCB. The General Court found that the Council had sufficiently reasoned the listing and did not breach the applicant’s rights of defense. The General Court emphasized that the applicant’s role as the governor of the SCB was sufficient to justify his designation since the SCB makes financial resources available to the Syrian regime.
On March 21, 2014, the General Court ruled that the European Commission had failed to fulfill its obligations by not remedying procedural deficiencies and substantive irregularities affecting the asset freeze imposed on Hani El Sayyed Elsebai Yusef, which resulted in a breach of his rights of defense.
Following his designation by the UN Sanctions Committee in 2005 on grounds of being associated with Al Qaida, Mr. Yusef was also listed by the EU on its Al Qaida sanctions list. His first action for annulment was dismissed as inadmissible in 2006. Mr. Yusef had brought separate actions in the UK against the national measures freezing his funds. Following the CJEU’s ruling in “Kadi I“ in 2008, the UK Supreme Court, in 2010, held that the measures in question had been adopted ultra vires. Subsequently, Mr. Yusef requested the Commission remove his listing, as he had been designated without independent or impartial assessment by the Commission, and had not been given any reasons, while the UK had concluded that the listing criteria were not satisfied in his case. When the Commission did not reply to his letter, Mr. Yusef brought new actions at the General Court, seeking the annulment of his listing on the grounds that the Commission had persistently failed to observe the principles stated by the CJEU Kadi I and Kadi II.
The General Court agreed with Mr Yusef and recalled that the rights of defense in particular the right to be heard and the right to an effective judicial remedy require that EU institutions: (i) provide the target with the evidence used against and the opportunity to make known his point of view before taking a final decision; (ii) disclose to the target the summary of reasons provided by the UN Sanctions Committee, which served as the basis for (maintaining) that person’s listing, and examine them impartially, in light of the target’s comments and any exculpatory evidence provided; and (iii) state their reasons, identifying the individual, specific, and concrete reasons why they consider that the target must be subject to restrictive measures.
The General Court concluded that Mr. Yusef was unable to rely on any of the principles or guarantees, even after the Kadi I judgment. The Commission had designated Mr. Yusef on the sole basis of a UN Sanctions Committee press release which did not include any statement of reasons, and only received the latter’s reasons several years later. The Court held that the Commission “was clearly under an obligation to act with regard to the applicant, in order to remedy those procedural and substantive irregularities, if not immediately after the Court had delivered its judgment in Kadi I, or in response to the applicant’s letter […]”. The General Court found this obligation to act was strengthened by the fact that Mr. Yusef had referred, in his letters to the Commission, to new and significant evidence which the Commission “was at least obliged to examine, in order to assess whether it amounted to a change of circumstances such as to warrant the revocation [of the listing].”
In addition, on October 16, 2014, the General Court annulled the 2006 listing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on procedural grounds, while rejecting the LTTE’s arguments regarding substance. The General Court confirmed that, in contrast to the applicant’s arguments, EU law on the prevention of terrorism does apply in situations of “armed conflicts” in the meaning of international law. Also, the General Court found that the Council’s reliance on decisions of a third country (in this case the Indian authorities) for its designation was not contrary to the Council’s Common Position of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism, in-so-far as the Council carefully verifies beforehand that that country’s legislation ensures sufficient protection of the rights of defense. However, considering that the Council did not carry out such an assessment, the contested measures were found to be based “not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities, as required by Common Position 2001/931 and case-law, but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.” The General Court annulled the designation.
The General Court stressed that its assessment of and conclusion regarding the procedural requirements does not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group.
In February 2014, it was reported in the press that Bank Mellat, Iran’s largest private bank is suing the British government for almost £2 billion (approx. USD 3.13 billion) in damages following the Supreme Court’s quashing of sanctions imposed on the bank in connection with allegations that it had links to the Iranian nuclear program.
Bank Mellat also continues with its ongoing efforts to have restrictions imposed on it under now-defunct UK legislation set aside. In November 2014, in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury  EWHC 3631 (Admin), the UK High Court held that the essence of allegations justifying designation of a person in a sanctions regime must be disclosed to that person, even where national security concerns prevent full disclosure. In June 2013, the UK’s Supreme Court held the relevant legislation was unlawful. The question in this case focused on the level of disclosure required to enable the Bank to challenge the reasons given for its designation. HM Government argued that the principles under the fair trial case law of the European Court of Human Rights, to the effect that sufficient disclosed must be made to enable the a person to defend itself, do not apply to asset-freezing cases. The Court rejected that argument due in part to the highly damaging nature of the orders on the claimant bank’s ability to function.
In July 2014, in the case of R (on the application of Sarkandi & Ors) v Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs  EWHC 2359 (Admin), the English High court granted an application by HM Government for a closed hearing in an administrative challenge against a sanctions listing. The claimants had been designated under the EU’s sanctions regime at the instigation of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The entities had successfully challenged their designations in the EU General Court, and subsequently sought to challenge the Secretary of State for the Foreign Office’s decision to propose designation, seeking damages. The Government sought an order under Section 6 of the Justice & Security Act 2013 that the case be heard in a “closed material procedure” which allows for the Government to rely on sensitive material that is not shown to the claimants. In granting the application, Bean J rejected the argument that the sensitive material was irrelevant because it could not be relied on to justify the listing proposal.
On December 9, 2014, a UK court rejected an attempt by Russian Oil company Rosneft to prevent laws in the UK criminalizing breaches of EU sanctions against Russia from coming into force, on the basis that the offences in question infringed the requirements of legal certainty under Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights and legal clarity under the common law. Rosneft had complained of the use of allegedly vague terms in the underlying the EU Regulation such as “deep water” and “arctic.” In the Divisional Court, Beatson LJ and Simon J held that Rosneft had not shown that the relevant provisions were invalid, since the laws would have clear application in some cases, and there was no risk to Rosneft of serious irreparable harm. It may not be entirely coincidental that, as discussed above, the EU clarified some of these very terms by way of amendments to the respective regulations just a few days before the judgment was handed down.
In May 2014, the Administrative Court in London handed down its decision in R (on the application of Privacy International) v The Commissioner for HM Revenue & Customs  EWHC 1475 (Admin). Privacy International is an NGO campaigning against governmental surveillance activities. It had been a complainant to HMRC regarding exports by the company Gamma International Limited of surveillance equipment to Bahrain and Ethiopia allegedly in breach of the UK’s Export Control Order. After a period of inaction, Privacy International sought the disclosure of information from HMRC regarding the status of its investigation. HMRC refused to provide any such information, or to disclose (one way or another) whether it was going to charge Gamma International. Privacy International sought judicial review (the UK’s primary device for challenging an administrative decision in court) of the decision to refuse to disclose information, and invited the court to order HMRC to issue guidance on when it will, or will not, publish decisions not to prosecute. Although the court declined to order the issuance of such guidance, Privacy International’s challenge against the decision not to disclose information was successful. It remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome of Privacy International’s efforts will be.
In July a court in Vienna seized €5m worth of real estate owned by Oleksii Azarov, who had been designated under the Ukrainian misappropriation sanctions. This followed an investigation by the Austrian Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (Federal Agency for State Protection and Counterterrorism). The case is of particular interest because the land in question was not legally owned by Mr. Azarov. Rather the land was held through a Liechtenstein entity called LADA Holding Anstalt, in which Mr. Azarov had a beneficial interest. In determining that the land in question was an asset of Mr. Azarov’s for the purposes of the EU sanctions, the Austrian court not only pierced the corporate structure but also looked to beneficial rather than legal ownership. Following a similar decision by the Cypriot Supreme Court in 2013 (reported in our 2013 Year-End Sanctions Update), it is a further illustration of the broad interpretation adopted by European courts to the question of what constitutes a person’s “assets” when construing the EU’s asset freezes.
In mid-December, it was reported that EU authorities were investigating Raiffeisen Bank International regarding a possible breach of the EU’s Russian capital markets sanctions. Raiffeisen’s Moscow subsidiary (ZAO Raiffeisenbank) had advised Vneshneconombank regarding a 10 billion ruble bond sale. It was reported that the investigation was focused on whether the Austrian parent bank and/or its staff were involved in the transaction in any way, or whether the ZAO Raiffesisenbank had entered into the transaction entirely independently of its parent.
On February 18, 2014, German federal prosecutors arrested a 62-year old German-Iranian individual on allegations of exporting to Iran goods that could be used in a weapons program. It was reported that the products included vacuum pumps, valves, and other such industrial products that could be used for civil or military purposes. The allegations concern the illegal export of goods of German or other EU Member State origin, to Iran between 2011 and 2013. Such exports violate the EU sanctions in force, which include an arms embargo and an embargo on equipment which could be used for internal repression. The illegal export was reported to have generated approximately EUR 230,000 of profits. According to German prosecutors, the goods were exported to an Iranian organization responsible for a military residual propellant weapons program and which has been subject to the embargo since 2007 and thus “[i]t is […] forbidden to make economic resources – and goods of any kind – available to this company”.
In June 2014, a trial commenced in Frankfurt of two individuals charged with exporting over sixty engines capable of being used in military drones to Iran. The exports were alleged to have occurred between 2008 and 2009 in breach of the EU’s sanctions. One of the individuals did not attend court for the commencement of the trial and will be tried separately. The trial of the second individual is ongoing with hearings next scheduled for mid to late January 2015.
In a move reminiscent of the Austrian seizure of property discussed above, on September 23, 2014, press reported that the Italian Guardia di Finanza had seized several properties valued at approximately €30m belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, a close friend of Russian President Putin who was designated under sanctions by the EU in July 2014. A villa in Sardinia was owned directly by Mr. Rotenberg but other properties, including a hotel in Rome, were held through the Italian company Aurora 31, itself owned by two Cypriot companies, Olpon Investment Limited, and Logotax Developments Limited. This is a further example of the broad approach to ownership being taken by the European authorities.
In February 2014, ONA Electroerosíon S.A. settled with Spanish prosecutors regarding charges of exporting seven shipments of turbine equipment valued at €1.2m to Iran in breach of sanctions. The shipments went via a front company in Turkey. ONA Electroerosíon had first been raided in 2012, and had first come to the attention of the authorities in 2009 when it applied for, and had been refused, a license to export the same equipment directly to Iran. The settlement included payment of an undisclosed fine. Under Spanish law the fines can be up to six times the value of the exported equipment.
On April 7, 2014, Spanish police arrested three Spanish individuals and one Iranian individual on suspicion of operating a network trying to export metal-molding machinery (of UK origin) to Iran. Such exports violate EU sanctions imposed against Iran (see above). Police officers stated that while the machinery in question could be used for civilian purposes, it could also be used for the production of parts of missiles or gas centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The sanctions in force restrict the export of such dual-use technology.
On July 1, 2014, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisor (FINMA) sanctioned BNP Paribas’s Swiss branch, BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA, and banned it for two years from engaging with any person designated by the EU or the United States as a target for sanctions. The measures were taken based on evidence that BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA had assisted in the breach of U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan by “seriously violat[ing] its duty to identify, limit and monitor the risks involved in making transactions with business partners in countries under U.S. sanctions.” FINMA’s investigation is not linked to the U.S. SEC’s investigation and resulting fine of USD 8.9 billion for BNP’s violation of U.S. sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, and Sudan.
A FINMA spokesman confirmed to the press that Swiss authorities do not usually enforce foreign governments’ legislation and would generally not step in to oblige companies to adhere to embargoes and sanctions imposed by anyone besides Bern.
BNP Suisse had handled transactions of Sudanese customers, and used third-party banks to mask their activities. BNP Suisse also provided significant credits destined for Sudanese oil trading, in breach of existing sanctions imposed by (among others) the U.S. against Sudan. While FINMA stressed that Swiss law demands that banks at all times “assure proper business conduct and risk management,” and BNP Suisse had clearly failed in that respect as it had “exposed itself to unduly high legal and reputational risks and violated requirements for adequate organisation under Swiss supervisory law.”
With regard to Ukraine and Russia, while Switzerland has not adopted sanctions itself, it ensures that individuals and entities targeted by EU and U.S. sanctions do not bypass those sanctions by using financial structures in Switzerland. To this end, Switzerland put in place a “black list.” The Swiss black list bans listed individuals and entities from transferring assets into Switzerland or engaging in new business relationships with Swiss financial institutions. Financial institutions which had existing relationship with a targeted individual or entity must report any transactions involving those targets.
The measures were extended in November 2014 and provide that the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO): (i) may refuse export permits for certain military and dual-use goods; (ii) must be notified of the provision of financial or technical services related to military or dual use goods to listed entities, or the provision of certain services related to the oil industry; and (iii) must authorize, trade in new financial instruments, as well as the granting of loans with a maturity exceeding 30 days.
In March 2014, the company Delta Pacific Valves Limited (previously called Delta Pacific Manufacturing Limited), and one of its director Gary Summerskill, were each convicted of sanctions breaches in the Central London Criminal Court following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). In an effort to evade detection the deliveries had been routed through Hong Kong and Azerbaijan. Mr. Summerskill was jailed for 30 months, with a conditional sentence of an additional 15 months if he fails to satisfy a Confiscation Order of £68,000 within 6 months. Mr. Summerskill had pleaded guilty at his trial, meaning his sentence is likely to have reflected some level of discount. The company, which had exported to Iran some £3.4 million worth of alloy valves capable of being used in weapons manufacture, was fined £225,000 and was also the subject of a Confiscation Order requiring it to repay its entire profits from the deliveries of £1,072,000.
In April 2014, the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal upheld a seven year custodial sentence and seven year director disqualification order in Gary Hyde v R  EWCA Crim 713. Gary Hyde had been convicted in 2012 in relation to the shipment of weapons from China to Nigeria in breach of export control bans. The Court of Appeal concluded (at paragraph 28) that: “the overall sentence was undoubtedly severe but a deterrent sentence was inevitable and we are not prepared to conclude that the custodial term imposed is either wrong in principle or manifestly excessive.” Mr. Hyde had not appealed against a Confiscation Order for £782,142, representing his whole profit from the transactions.
In April 2014, the Serious Fraud Office announced that it was opening a money laundering investigation “arising from suspicions of corruption in Ukraine,” and added that it had obtained a Restraint Order over approximately £23m in assets in the UK. This investigation is likely to have arisen from financial institutions reporting assets held by those individuals listed under the Ukrainian Misappropriation sanctions.
In May 2014, it was reported that the UK’s National Crime Agency and HMRC were investigating Reed Business Information Limited in relation to allegations that a number of designated Iranian banks continued to be sold access to business information products and databases after they had been so designated. No further information has been published, and the current status of the investigation is uncertain.
In November 2014, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a Thematic Review on How small banks manage money laundering and sanctions risk. This was a follow on from its 2011 review of the handling of AML risk by small banks, now expanded to cover sanctions. As part of the review the FCA visited 21 small banks operating in the UK. The FCA concluded that particularly serious failures were identified at six of these banks, with the FCA commencing enforcement investigations in relation to two of the banks. It is unclear from the Thematic Review whether these investigations relate to AML or sanctions failures, or both. The FCA drew attention to some notable failings as regards sanctions and sanctions screening including: the failure to keep abreast of changes to sanctions designations; the use of manual screening as opposed to “fuzzy” searches; discrepancies between the screening done when taking on new customers and those carried out on existing customers; the failure to screen all payment types against sanctions lists; and inadequate knowledge and expertise regarding sanctions and the identification of sanctions risks. The FCA included three examples of good practice:
On November 24, 2014, the P5+1 extended the nuclear negotiations with Iran under the Joint Plan of Action for another seven months. The negotiations aim to reach a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear activities and suspend certain nuclear-related U.S, EU, and UN sanctions on the country. This was the second time the parties have extended the negotiating period, and both sides are continuing to work towards a comprehensive agreement that would further limit Iran’s nuclear activities and significantly unwind U.S., EU, and UN sanctions. The seven month extension has been divided in two periods; the parties face a March 1, 2015 deadline for reaching a political agreement, and a June 30, 2015 deadline for reaching a final agreement, including all of the details regarding implementation. While the interim agreement permits some previously prohibited transactions, the vast majority of sanctions on Iran remain in place.
In exchange for a number of Iranian steps to curtail its uranium enrichment activities, limit its development of the Arak reactor, and allow for international inspections, the United States and the European Union have taken a number of sanctions-relaxing measures, including pausing efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales; enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of oil revenue held abroad; suspend sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports; suspend sanctions on gold and precious metals, as well as on Iran’s auto industry; and establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad. Under the second extension, Iran will continue to receive approximately $700 million monthly held in previously blocked foreign accounts. The United States and European Union also agreed to refrain from imposing new nuclear-related United Nations Security Council, European Union, and United States sanctions.
While senior Administration officials remain bullish on the prospects of striking a deal with Iran, the recently elected Congress has expressed misgivings about any prospective deal that does not sufficiently limit Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. Republican and Democratic Congressmen are threatening to pass additional legislation that would sanction Iran, actions which could potentially scuttle the negotiations or any nascent deal; the new Congress may further complicate striking a deal with Iran. OFAC has repeatedly shown a willingness to aggressively enforce sanctions regulations still in place, and its aggressive posture has added to tensions in the negotiations that further draw into question the likelihood of reaching an agreement.
While there has been significant interest in re-entering the market if sanctions on Iran are partially lifted, we recommend proceeding with caution, both now and in the event that a deal is reached. Businesses should pay careful attention to what is and is not permitted under U.S. law; the interim agreement does not ease the majority of sanctions on Iran and companies eager to engage with the country may be surprised to learn that OFAC is aggressively enforcing the vast sanctions regime covering that country.
If an agreement is reached, it will likely only lift some nuclear-related sanctions; a number of other sanctions regulations will remain in place. Our clients and friends should likewise exercise caution in re-entering Iranian markets, as such new business could easily result in inadvertently conducting prohibited transactions.
The United States and the European Union continue to exert economic pressure on Russia following its annexation of Crimea and continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. The new sanctions levied against Russia–which target its financial and energy industries–are sophisticated and designed to narrowly impact key Russian economic sectors and persons. However, the impact of these sanctions has been much more widely felt throughout the country; the ruble has dropped almost 50% in value since the beginning of 2014, and capital continues to flow out of the country. Despite this economic pain, thus far Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued supporting separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and continues to control Crimea.
Looking ahead, the United States is likely to impose additional sanctions on Russia. In mid-December, 2014, President Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act into law, which provides the President with the authority to, inter alia, penalize foreign companies for conducting certain transactions in Russia’s energy sector. These CISADA-like sanctions provide the President with the power to target foreign companies across the world, and represent a significant expansion of the reach of the Russia sanctions program. Our clients and friends should be aware that, even if they do not conduct business in the United States, they may be subject to OFAC penalties.
Moving forward, companies should be cautious about conducting activities in Russia for at least two reasons. First, as has become evident, OFAC is still determining the precise contours of the Russia sanctions. For example, OFAC is still defining key terms as questions arise about them. Transactions which may appear to be currently acceptable under the regulations could become prohibited based on OFAC’s subsequent interpretations. The timing of such a determination would be unlikely to insulate a company from liability if it engaged in those transactions prior to OFAC’s interpretation. Second, while U.S. and EU regulators have not pursued enforcement actions for sanctions violations yet, we expect that they will aggressively do so in the near term. Any companies found to be in violation of the regulations will likely face stiff penalties and reputational damage.
The announced changes in U.S. policy towards Cuba were greeted positively in many quarters, with expressions of hope for more contact with Cuba as well as a repositioning of the U.S. status in Latin America, where the U.S. embargo on Cuba has been a sore point. However, approval was far from universal, particularly with Members of Congress who would have to take legislative action to end the embargo. Comments in response to the policy announcement suggest significant conflict within the 114th Congress, with important voices expressing hostility towards the Obama Administration’s efforts. Further, in addition to refusing to take legislative action needed to lift the embargo, Congress has the ability to prevent appropriations needed to fund an embassy in Cuba or confirm an ambassador. This time of divided government, with the start of the new Congress and an Administration in its final two years, holds the promise of energetic exchanges regarding the future of the U.S. relationship with Cuba.
 Exec. Order No. 13,662, 79 Fed. Reg. 16,167 (Mar. 24, 2014). For a more in-depth discussion of this Executive Order, see Client Alert, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, President Obama Signs Third Executive Order Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine and Targeting Certain Russian Economic Sectors (Mar. 25, 2014), https://www.gibsondunn.com/wp-content/uploads/documents/publications/President-Obama-Signs-Third-Executive-Order-Blocking-Property-of-Additional-Persons-Contributing-to-Situation-in-Ukraine.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Ukraine-related Sanctions; Publication of Executive Order 13662, Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (July 16, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/ofac-enforcement/pages/20140716.aspx; Office of Foreign Assets Control, Directives 1 and 2 Pursuant to EO 13662 (July 16, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/eo_13662_directives.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (July 16, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/ofac/downloads/ssi/ssi.pdf (hereinafter “SSI List).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Announcement of Additional Treasury Sanctions on Russian Financial Defense Technology Entity (July 29, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2590.aspx.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, Question 371, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#371 (last updated Sept. 12, 2014) (hereinafter “OFAC FAQ”).
 OFAC FAQ, Question 373, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#373 (last updated Sept. 12, 2014).
 Id., Question 371, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#371 (last updated Sept. 12, 2014).
 Id., Question 370, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#370 (last updated Sept. 12, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Announcement of Expanded Treasury Sanctions within the Russian Financial Services, Energy and Defense or Related Materiel Sectors (Sept. 12, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2629.aspx.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License No. 2: Authorizing Certain Activities Prohibited by Directive 4 under Executive Order 13662 Necessary to Wind Down Operations (Sept. 12, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/ukraine_gl2.pdf.
 OFAC FAQ, Question 416, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#416 (last updated Sept. 12, 2014).
 With this latest round of sanctions, U.S. persons are prohibited from purchasing or otherwise dealing in any new debt from a total of six large Russian banks: Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, VEB, Russian Agricultural Bank and Bank of Moscow.
 OFAC Revised Guidance on Entities Owned by Persons Whose Property and Interests in Property are Blocked (Aug. 13, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/licensing_guidance.pdf.
 OFAC FAQ, Question 373, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#373, (last updated Sept. 12, 2014).
 Id., Question 418, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#418 (last updated Nov. 18, 2014).
 Id., Question 420, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#420 (last updated Dec. 11, 2014).
 Id., Question 421, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answers2.aspx#421 (last updated Dec. 11, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License No. 1A: Authorizing Certain Transactions Related to Derivatives Prohibited by Directives 1, 2, and 3 under Executive Order 13662 (Sept. 12, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/ukraine_gl1a.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License No. 3: Authorizing Transactions Involving Certain Entities Otherwise Prohibited by Directive 1 under Executive Order 13662 (Oct. 6, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/ukraine_gl3.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License No. 4: Authorizing the Exportation or Reexportation of Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, Medical Supplies, and Replacement Parts (Dec. 19, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/ukraine_gl4.pdf.
 Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014, Pub. L. No. 113-95, 128 Stat. 1088, 1093-97, codified at 22 U.S.C. §§ 8907-09 (Pub. L. No. 113-95).
 Pub. L. No. 113-95 § 8(b)(3); id. § 9(b)(3). Both sections define a “good” under the Export Administration Act of 1979 as “any article, natural or manmade substance, material, supply or manufactured product, including inspection and test equipment, and excluding technical data.” 50 U.S.C. App. § 2415(3) (2012).
 Pub. L. No. 113-95 § 8(b)(3); id. § 9(b)(3). Both sections define a “good” under the Export Administration Act of 1979 as “any article, natural or manmade substance, material, supply or manufactured product, including inspection and test equipment, and excluding technical data.” 50 U.S.C. App. § 2415(3) (2012).
 S. 2124, the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014, 113th Cong. (2014), originally introduced by Senator Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) would have imposed nearly identical sanctions as the final form of its House counterpart. However, the Menéndez bill also included provisions that would have altered the United States’ obligation to the IMF. When Speaker Boehner refused to bring it to a vote in the House because of the IMF provisions, the Senate voted as a compromise to pass H.R. 4152, adding amendments that incorporated the Menéndez sanctions. See Ramsey Cox, Reid Sets Up Ukraine Vote for Thursday, The Hill, Mar. 25, 2014, available at http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/201730-reid-sets-up-ukraine-vote-for-thursday. Thus, the Menéndez bill sanctions were largely signed into law in H.R. 4152, even though a motion to proceed to consideration of the Menéndez bill was withdrawn in the Senate.
 Presidential Statement on Signing the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, 2014 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. 1 (Dec. 18, 2014), available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/DCPD-201400941/pdf/DCPD-201400941.pdf.
 Ukraine Freedom Support Act at § 4(a)(2)(A). Note that the specified countries are Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, or any other country designated by the President as a country of significant concern, such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and the Central Asia republics. See id. at § 4(a)(3).
 Press Release, The White House, Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba (Dec. 17, 2014), http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/17/fact-sheet-charting-new-course-cuba.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Publication of New Cuba-Related FAQ (Dec. 17, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20141217_33.aspx.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Comprehensive Guidelines for License Applications to Engage in Travel-Related Transactions Involving Cuba (May 10, 2012), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_tr_app.pdf, at 31-43.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Summary of Travel, Carrier, and Remittance Forwarding Service Provider Program (Circular 2012) (July 2012), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/circ2012.pdf.
 31 C.F.R. § 515.201 (financial transactions with Cubans in third countries); 31 C.F.R. § 515.505(b) (bank accounts); 31 C.F.R. § 515.564(a) (2) and (b) (conferences); 31 C.F.R. § 515.207 (vessels);
 Remarks by Secretary of State Clinton on Internet Freedom (Jan. 21, 2010), U.S. Department of State, http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2010/01/135519.htm.
 OFAC FAQ, Question 368, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#368 (last updated June 2, 2014).
 Exec. Order No. 13,303, 3 C.F.R. 227 (2004). The Development Fund for Iraq was established in May 2003 by the Administrator of the Coalition Provision Authority, who had responsibility “for the temporary governance of Iraq and all accounts held for the fund or for the Central Bank of Iraq in the name of the fund.” Id. at 229.
 Press Release, Treasury Imposes Sanctions Against the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Jan. 2, 2015), http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl9733.aspx.
 Exec. Order No. 13,399, 3 C.F.R. 218 (2007); Exec. Order No. 13,460, 3 C.F.R. 181 (2009); Exec. Order No. 13,572, 3 C.F.R. 236 (2012); Exec. Order No. 13,573, 3 C.F.R. 241 (2012); Exec. Order No. 13,582, 3 C.F.R. 264 (2012); and Exec. Order No. 13,606, 3 C.F.R. 243 (2013).
 Burmese Sanctions Regulations, Final Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 37,106 (June 20, 2014).
 Exec. Order No. 13,047, 3 C.F.R. 202 (1998).
 Exec. Order No. 13,448, 3 C.F.R. 304 (2008); Exec. Order No. 13,464, 3 C.F.R. 189 (2009); Exec. Order No. 13,619, 3 C.F.R. 279 (2013); Exec. Order No. 13,651, 3 C.F.R. 324 (2014).
 Exec. Order No. 13,664, 79 Fed. Reg. 19,283 (Apr. 7, 2014).
 South Sudan Sanctions Regulations, Final Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 37,190 (July 1, 2014).
 Exec. Order No. 13,667, 79 Fed. Reg. 28,387 (May 15, 2014).
 Central African Republic Sanctions Regulations, Final Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 38,248 (July 7, 2014).
 Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations, Final Rule, 79 Fed. Reg. 39,312 (July 10, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License No. 9: Specified Transactions Involving Certain Blocked Property Authorized (Feb. 3, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/wmd_gl9.pdf (hereinafter “WMD General License No. 9”).
 MV SININ released from Pirate Control, EU NAVFOR (Aug. 15, 2011), http://eunavfor.eu/mv-sinin-released-from-pirate-contol/.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License D-1: General License with Respect to Certain Services, Software, and Hardware Incident to Personal Communications (Feb. 7, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/iran_gld1.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License G: Certain Academic Exchanges and the Exportation or Importation of Certain Educational Services Authorized (Mar. 19, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/iran_glg.pdf.
 See OFAC’s List of Medical Supplies, available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/iran_gl_med_supplies.pdf (last visited Jan. 7, 2015).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, General License No. 1A: Certain Academic and Processional Exchanges Authorized (Aug. 7, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/sudan_gl1a.pdf.
 OFAC FAQ, Question 397, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#397 (last updated Aug. 11, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action Reached On November 24, 2013 Between The P5+1 and The Islamic Republic of Iran (Jan. 20, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140120.aspx.
 U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury and U.S. Dep’t of State, Guidance Relating to the Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief in Order to Implement the Joint Plan of Action Reached on November 24, 2013, Between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as Extended Through June 30, 2015 (Nov. 25, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/guidance_ext_11252004.pdf(hereinafter “Second Extended JPOA Period Guidance”).
 Press Statement, Secretary of State John Kerry, Extension of Iran Nuclear Talks (July 18, 2014), http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/07/229491.htm.
 U.S. Dep’t of the Treasury and U.S. Dep’t of State, Guidance Relating to the Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief in Order to Implement the Joint Plan of Action Reached on November 24, 2013, between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, As Extended Through November 24, 2014 (July 21, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/jpoa_guidance_ext.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Frequently Asked Questions Relating to the Extension of Temporary Sanctions Relief to Implement the Joint Plan of Action between the P5 + 1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran (July 21, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/jpoa_faqs_ext.pdf
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Frequently Asked Questions Relating to the Extension of Temporary Sanctions Relief through June 30, 2015, to Implement the Joint Plan of Action between the P5 + 1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Nov. 25, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/jpoa_ext_faq_11252014.pdf (hereinafter “Second Extended JPOA Period FAQ”).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Second Amended Statement of Licensing Policy on Activities Related to the Safety of Iran’s Civil Aviation Industry (Nov. 25, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/2nd_amended_jpoa_lic.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Reminder about the Removal of the .exe SDN and PLC Archives (Feb. 27, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/exenotice.aspx.
 OFAC FAQ, Questions Related to Burma Sanctions, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/ques_index.aspx#burma (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 268, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#268 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 269, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#269 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 268, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#268 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 359, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#359 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 270, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#270 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 271, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#271 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 280, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#280 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 278, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#278 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 279, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#279 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 283, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#283 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 272, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#272 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014), and Question 273, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#273(last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 280, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#280 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 286, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#286 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Id., Question 360, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#360 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, 2013 Year-End Sanctions Update (Feb. 6, 2014), https://www.gibsondunn.comhttps://www.gibsondunn.com/2013-year-end-sanctions-update/.
 OFAC FAQ, Question 277, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#277 (last updated Apr. 1, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Frequently Asked Questions on Iran/TSRA General Licenses (Apr. 7, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140407.aspx.
 OFAC FAQ, Questions regarding the general licenses (GL) for agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/ques_index.aspx#iran_med (last updated Apr. 7, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Upgrade to the SDN Search Tool (June 9, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140609.aspx (Upgrade to the SDN Search Tool“).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Sanctions List Search Tool, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/fuzzy_logic.aspx (last updated Dec. 1, 2014).
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Revised Guidance on Entities Owned by Persons Whose Property and Interests in Property are Blocked (Aug. 13, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/licensing_guidance.pdf.
 OFAC FAQ, Questions Related to Entities Owned by Persons Whose Property and Interests in Property are Blocked, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/ques_index.aspx#50_percent (last updated Aug. 13, 2014).
 OFAC FAQ, Question Relating to the Payments or the Facilitation of Payments to Iranian Civil Aviation Authorities for Overflights of Iran or Emergency Landing in Iran, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/answer.aspx#417 (last updated Nov. 4, 2014)
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Release of Consolidated Non-SDN Data Files and Upgrade to Sanctions List Search (Oct. 10, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/consolidated.aspx. OFAC also explained that “[i]n order to differentiate records that appear on the ISA list from those that do not appear on the SDN list, OFAC recently renamed the stand-alone ISA list. It is now called the Non-SDN ISA list or NS-ISA List.” Id.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance by Not-For-Profit Non-Governmental Organizations (Oct. 17, 2014), http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Documents/20141017_humanitarian.pdf. The guidance clarifies that it “applies to registered 501(c)(3) (tax exempt status), not-for-profit non-governmental organizations.” Id. at 1 n.1.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Report of Licensing Activities Pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, January – March 2013 (Jan. 24, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/2quarter2013.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Report of Licensing Activities Pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, April – June 2013 (Jan. 24, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/3quarter2013.pdf
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Report of Licensing Activities Pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, July – September 2013 (Mar. 13, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/4quarter2013.pdf
 Office of Foreign Assets Control,Terrorist Assets Report Calendar Year 2013 (June 25, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/tar2013.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Biennial Report of Licensing Activities Pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (June 27, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/6thbiennial_tsra.pdf (hereinafter “2014 Biennial Report”).
 “Licensing determination” means any action –intermediate or final–taken in connection with a license application. The licensing determination may be a license, an amendment to a license, “return-without-action”, a denial letter or any other communication in connection with the license application. See 2014 Biennial Report at 1,n.1.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Report of Licensing Activities Pursuant to The Trade Sanctions Report and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, October – December 2013 (Oct. 23, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/1quarter2014.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control Report of Licensing Activities Pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Report and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, January – March 2014 (Dec. 2, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/2quarter2014.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for January 23, 2014 (Jan. 23, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140123_clearstream.pdf.
 Samuel Rubenfeld, Treasury: Clearstream ‘Buried’ Beneficial Ownership of Iranian Securities, Risk & Compliance Journal, Wall St. J. Blog (Jan. 23, 2014, 3:00 PM), http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2014/01/23/treasury-clearstream-buried-beneficial-ownership-of-iranian-securities/.
 Joseph Ax, U.S. Grand Jury Probing Deutsche Borse Unit’s Ties to Iran Bank, Reuters, Apr. 1, 2014, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/01/us-usa-iran-court-idUSBREA301V220140401.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for January 27, 2014 (Jan. 27, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140127_moscow.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for April 18, 2014 (Apr. 18, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140418_cwt.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for May 6, 2014 (May 6, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/05062014_Decolar.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for June 5, 2014 (June 5, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140605_fokker.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for June 30, 2014 (June 30, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140630_bnp.pdf.
 Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and BNP Parabas, SA (June 30, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140630_bnp_settlement.pdf0
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for July 25, 2014 (July 25, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140725_epsilon.pdf
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Penalty Notice to Epsilon Electronics Inc. (July 21, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140721_epsilon_penalty.pdf
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for September 3, 2014 (Sept. 3, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140903_citigroup.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for September 9, 2014 (Sept. 9, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20140909_zulutrade.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for October 10, 2014 (Oct. 10, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20141029_bupa.pdf.
 Office of Foreign Assets Control, Enforcement Information for November 13, 2014 (Nov. 13, 2014), available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20141113_esco.pdf.
 Council Regulation 208/2014, Concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 66) 1; and Council Decision 2014/119/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 66) 26.
 Council Regulation 269/2014, Concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 78) 6; and Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 78) 16.
 Council Regulation 476/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 137) 1; and Council Decision 2014/265/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 137) 9.
 Council Regulation 783/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 214) 2; and Council Decision 2014/475/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 214) 28.
 Council Implementing Regulation 284/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 86) 27; and Council Implementing Decision 2014/151/CFSP, Implementing Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 86) 30.
 Council Implementing Regulation 381/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 208/2014 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 111) 33; and Council Implementing Decision 2014/216/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 111) 91.
 Council Implementing Regulation 433/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 126) 48; and Council Implementing Decision 2014/238/CFSP, Implementing Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 126) 55.
 Council Regulation 811/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 221) 11; Council Implementing Regulation 810/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 221) 1; and Council Decision 2014/499/CFSP, Amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 221) 15.
 Council Implementing Regulation 826/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 226) 16; and Council Decision 2014/508/CFSP, Amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 226) 23.
 Council Implementing Regulation 961/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 271) 8; and Council Decision 2014/658/CFSP, Amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 271) 47.
 Council Implementing Regulation 1270/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 344) 5; and Council Decision 2014/855/CFSP, Amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 344) 22.
 Council Regulation 1351/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 692/2014 concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, 2014 O.J. (L 365) 46; and Council Decision 2014/933, Amending Decision 2014/386/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, 2014 O.J. (L 365) 152.
 Conclusions of the Special meeting of the European Council, Jul. 16, 2014, available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/143992.pdf.
 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Bear Bating – EU Sectoral Sanctions Against Russia (Aug. 6, 2014), https://www.gibsondunn.com/bear-baiting-eu-sectoral-sanctions-against-russia/ (hereinafter “EU Sectoral Sanctions Alert”).
 Council Regulation 833/2014, Concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 229) 1; and Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 229) 13.
 Bundesamt für Wirtschft und Ausfuhrkontrolle, Merkblatt zum Aussenwirtschaftverkehr mit der Russischen Föderation, Aug. 12, 2014, available at http://www.ausfuhrkontrolle.info/ausfuhrkontrolle/de/arbeitshilfen/merkblaetter/merkblatt_russland.pdf.
 Department for Business Innovation & Skills, New EU Sanctions against Russia. Frequently Asked Questions, Aug. 14, 2014, available at http://blogs.bis.gov.uk/exportcontrol/files/2014/08/Russia-Sanctions-FAQ-August-2014.docx.
 Council Regulation 960/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 271) 3; and Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP, Amending Decision 2014/512/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 271) 54.
 HM Treasury, Ukraine: list of persons subject to restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-consolidated-list-of-targets/ukraine-list-of-persons-subject-to-restrictive-measures-in-view-of-russias-actions-destabilising-the-situation-in-ukraine.
 Council Regulation 1290/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, and amending Regulation (EU) No. 960/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, 2014 O.J. (L 349) 20.
 European Commission, Commission Guidance note on the implementation of certain provision of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, Dec. 12, 2014, available at http://europa.eu/newsroom/files/pdf/c_2014_9950_en.pdf.
 Christian Oliver, EU plans Russia sanctions talks with Latin American countries, Financial Times, Aug. 11, 2014, available at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4730c97a-216a-11e4-a958-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3L0jpxZ3d.
 Gabriele Baczynska & Andrew Roche, German EU lawmaker says Russia barred her from entering, Reuters, Sept. 26, 2014, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/26/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-eu-idUSKCN0HL1QE20140926.
 Kathrin Hille, Russia moves to compensate sanctioned oligarchs, Financial Times, Oct. 8, 2014, available at http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b374be24-4f01-11e4-9c88-00144feab7de.html#axzz3L0jpxZ3d; the draft law is available at http://asozd2.duma.gov.ru/main.nsf/(SpravkaNew)?OpenAgent&RN=607554-6&02, in Russian.
 Gleb Garanich, Ukraine may block all transit from Russia in sanctions row – PM, Reuters Aug. 8, 2014, available at http://rt.com/business/178988-russia-ukraine-gas-transit/.
 Press Release, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (Aug. 15, 2014), available at http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/press/news/2014/Restrictive-measures-against-Russia-.html?id=765896.
 Press Release ST 14387/14, European Union, Declaration by High Representative, Catherine Ashton, Concerning the alignment of certain third countries with Council Decision 2014/658/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (Oct. 15, 2014), available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/cfsp/145122.pdf.
 Press Release, European Union, Conclusions Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Ukraine (Nov. 17, 2014), available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/145789.pdf.; and Council Implementing Regulation 1270/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 344) 5; and Council Decision 2014/855/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 2014 O.J. (L 344) 22.
 Council Implementing Regulation 1057/2014, Concerning restrictive measures directed against certain individuals, groups, undertakings and entities in view of the situation in Afghanistan, 2014 O.J. (L 293) 1.
 Council Regulation 224/2014, Concerning restrictive measures against the Central African Republic, 2014 O.J. (L70) 1; Council Decision 2014/125/CFSP, 2014 O.J. (L 70) 22); and S.C. Res 2134, U.N. Doc. S/RES/2134 (Jan. 28, 2014).
 Council Regulation 270/2014, Amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2005 imposing certain restrictive measures in respect of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2014 O.J. (L 79) 34; Council Decision 2014/147/CFSP amending Decision 2010/788/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2014 O.J. (L 79) 42; and Council Regulation 271/2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 1183/2005 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against persons acting in violation of the arms embargo with regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2014 O.J. (L 79) 35.
 Council Decisions 2014/480/CFSP, Amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2014 O.J. (L 215) 4; and Council Decision 2014/829/CFSP, Amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2014 O.J. (L 338) 1.
 Council Regulation 2014/42/EU, Amending Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2014 O.J. (L 15) 18; and Council Decision 2014/21/CFSP, Amending Council Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2014 O.J. (L 15) 22.
 For more detail, see Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, 2013 Year-End Sanctions Update (Feb. 6, 2014), https://www.gibsondunn.comhttps://www.gibsondunn.com/2013-year-end-sanctions-update/#_ftn181.
 Council Regulation 791/2014, Amending Regulation (EC) No 1210/2003 concerning certain specific restrictions on economic and financial relations with Iraq, 2014 O.J. (L 217) 5; and Council Decision 2014/484/CFSP, Amending Common Position 2003/495/CFSP on Iraq, 2014 O.J. (L 217) 38.
 Council Regulation 690/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 204/2011 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya, 2014 O.J. (L 183) 3; and Council Decision 2014/380/CFSP amending Decision 2011/137/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya, 2014 O.J. (L183) 52.
 Council Regulation 1102/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 204/2011 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 1; Council Implementing Regulation 1103/2014, Implementing Article 16(1) of Regulation (EU) No 204/2011 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 3; and Council Decision 2014/727/CFSP, Amending Decision 2011/137/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 30.
 Commission Implementing Regulation 1059/2014, Amending Council Regulation (EC) No 329/2007 concerning restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 2014 O.J. (L 293) 15; and Council Decision 2014/700/CFSP amending Decision 2013/183/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, 2014 O.J. (L 293) 34.
 Council Implementing Regulation 1104/2014, Implementing Article 12(1) of Regulation (EU) No 356/2010 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain natural or legal persons, entities or bodies, in view of the situation in Somalia, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 5; and Council Implementing Decision 2014/729/CFSP, Implementing Decision 2010/231/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Somalia, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 34.
 Council Regulation 748/2014, Concerning restrictive measures in respect of the situation in South Sudan, 2014 O.J. (L 203) 13; and Council Decision 2014/449/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in South Sudan, 2014 O.J. (L 203) 100.
 Council Regulation 747/2014, Concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Sudan and repealing Regulations (EC) No 131/2004 and (EC) No 1184/2005, 2014 O.J. (L 203) 1; and Council Decision 2014/450/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Sudan and repealing Decision 2011/423/CFSP, 2014 O.J. (L203) 106.
 Council Regulation 124/2014, Amending Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria, 2014 O.J. (L 40) 8; and Council Decision 2014/74/CFSP, Amending Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria, 2014 O.J. (L 40) 63.
 Council Implementing Regulation 793/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria, 2014 O.J. (L 217) 10; and Council Implementing Decision 2014/488/CFSP, Implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria, 2014 O.J. (L 217) 49.
 Council Implementing Regulation 1105/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 36/2012 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 7; and Council Implementing Decision 2014/730/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP, Concerning restrictive measures against Syria, 2014 O.J. (L 301) 36.
 Council Regulation 153/2014, Amending Regulation (EC) No 314/2004 concerning certain restrictive measures in respect of Zimbabwe and repealing Regulation (EU) No 298/2013, 2014 O.J. (L 50) 1; and Council Decision 2014/98/CFSP, Amending Decision 2011/101/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Zimbabwe, 2014 O.J. (L 50) 20.
 Commission Delegated Regulation 1382/2014, Amending Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items, 2014 O.J. (L 371) 1.
 For background, see Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, 2013 Year-End Update on Corporate Non-Prosecution Agreements (NPAs) and Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs), (Jan. 7, 2014), https://www.gibsondunn.com/2013-year-end-update-on-corporate-non-prosecution-agreements-npas-and-deferred-prosecution-agreements-dpas/; 2014 Mid-Year Update on Corporate Non-Prosecution Agreements (NPAs) and Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs), (Jul. 8, 2014). https://www.gibsondunn.com/2014-mid-year-update-on-corporate-non-prosecution-agreements-npas-and-deferred-prosecution-agreements-dpas/.
 Consultation Document, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Contract Sanctions: A Consultation (Feb. 22, 2014), available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/hxudbtorzqybdpf/Contract%20sanctions%20consultation%20document%5B1%5D.pdf.
 HM Treasury Notice, Financial Sanctions: Revision of treatment of certain transactions, Jul. 18, 2014.
 International Sanctions (Ukraine) Amendment Regulations 2014 (BR 2014).
 For the Isle of Man this is helpfully set out in Sanctions Notice 41. European Union Sanctions Ukraine/Russia, Dec. 22, 2014, available at http://www.gov.im/media/1064229/sanctions-notice-41-ukraine-russia-22-12-14.pdf, for Jersey see the EU Legislation (Sanctions – Ukraine)(Amendment)(Jersey) Order 2014, available at http://www.jerseylaw.je/Law/display.aspx?url=lawsinforce%5chtm%5cROFiles%5cR%26OYear2014%2fR%26O-216-2014.htm.
 Ukraine (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) No. 3 Order 2014, S.I. 2014/1098, available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1098/pdfs/uksi_20141098_en.pdf.
 L.N. 277 of 2014 National Interest (Enabling Powers) Act (Cap. 365) Enforcement of European Union Sanctions (Islamic Republic of Iran) Regulations, 2014, available at http://mfsa.com.mt/pages/readfile.aspx?f=/files/International%20Affairs/Sanctions%202014/L.N.%20277.2014%20iran.pdf.
 Council Decision 2014/222/CFSP, Amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2014 O.J. (L 119) 65; and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 397/2014, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2014 O.J. (L 119) 1.
 Council Decision 2013/661/CFSP, Amending Decision 2010/413/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2013 O.J. (L 306) 18; and Council Implementing Regulation 1154/2013, Implementing Regulation (EU) No 267/2012 concerning restrictive measures against Iran, 2013 O.J. (L306) 3: re-listing of Persia International Bank Plc, Export Development Bank of Iran, Iran Insurance Company, Post Bank Iran, Bank Refah Kargaran, Good Luck Shipping LLC, and Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Co.
 Commission Regulation 1629/2005, Amending for the 54th time Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with Usama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida network and the Taliban, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 467/2001, 2005 O.J. (L 260) 9.
 Clare Hutchison, Iranian bank sues UK government for $4 billion over sanctions, Reuters, Feb. 17, 2014, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/17/us-britain-bankmellat-idUSBREA1G0KC20140217.
 The Export Control (Russia, Crimea and Sevastopol Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2014, S.I. 2014/2932, available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2932/pdfs/uksi_20142932_en.pdf.
 Ukraine in Brief. Tuesday, July 8, Ukranews, http://ukranews.com/news/128393.—.ru
 Jason Corcoran, Boris Groendahl and Alan Katz, Raiffeisen Draws Sanctions Scrutiny for Russia Bond Sale, Bloomberg News, Dec. 10, 2014, available at http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-12-10/raiffeisen-draws-sanctions-scrutiny-for-russia-bond-sale.
 Press release, Der Generalbundesanwalt, Festnahme wegen mutmasslicher Verstösse gegen das Aussenwirtschaftsgesetz (Feb. 19, 2014), http://www.generalbundesanwalt.de/de/showpress.php?themenid=16&newsid=493.
 Emma Anderson, Germany tries Iranians charged with smuggling drone engines as jet ski parts, Reuters, Jun. 16, 2014, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/16/us-iran-germany-trial-idUSKBN0ER1PH20140616.
 Terminierung im Strafverfahren gegen Iman J.L., Dec. 10, 2014, available at http://www.olg-frankfurt.justiz.hessen.de/irj/OLG_Frankfurt_am_Main_Internet?uid=1cd20043-bbd1-8531-f012-f312b417c0cf.
 Nick Squires & Tom Parfitt, Italy seizes £24m of real estate belonging to Vladimir Putin’s judo partner, The Telegraph, Sept. 23, 2014, available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/11116161/Italy-seizes-24m-of-real-estate-belonging-to-Vladimir-Putins-judo-partner.html, and Italian media reported about the police hunt for the assets of Russians, CES News, Sep. 26, 2014, available at http://cesnews.ru/2014/09/26/italian-media-reported-about-the-police-hunt-for-the-assets-of-russians/.
 ONA acepta una multa por exporter maquinaria a Irán, Diario Vasco, Feb. 22, 2014, available at http://www.diariovasco.com/v/20140222/economia/acepta-multa-exportar-maquinaria-20140222.html.
 Spanish Company Charged with Exporting turbine manufacturing machines with nuclear applications to Iran, Iran Watch, Jun. 5, 2014, available at http://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/international-enforcement-actions/spanish-company-charged-exporting-turbine-manufacturing-machines-nuclear-applications-iran.
 Press Release, Spanish Civil Guard, Desarticulada una red que pretendía enviar a Irán equipos industriales susceptibles de ser empleados para fabricar misiles, Apr. 7, 2014, available at http://www.guardiacivil.es/es/prensa/noticias/4860.html.
 Press Release, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, Inadequate risk management of U.S. sanctions: FINMA closes proceedings against BNP Paribas (Suisse) (Jul. 1, 2014), available at http://www.finma.ch/e/aktuell/Pages/mm-abschluss-verfahren-bnp-paribas-suisse-20140701.aspx.
 Press Release, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Modification, Concerning the measures to prevent the circumvention of international sanctions in connection with the situation in Ukraine (Aug. 4, 2014), available at http://www.seco.admin.ch/themen/00513/00620/00622/05405/index.html?lang=de.
 Press Release, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs Modification, Ukraine: Further measures to prevent circumvention of sanctions (Nov. 12, 2014), available at https://www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=en&msg-id=55198.
 Press Release, HM Revenue & Customs, Illegal exporter ordered to repay criminal profit, Nov. 21, 2014, available at http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/pressreleases/illegal-exporter-ordered-to-repay-criminal-profit-1087729.
 Gary Hyde v R  EWCA Crim 713, available at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2014/713.html.
 Press Release, Serious Fraud Office, Money Laundering Investigation Opened, Apr. 28, 2014, available at http://www.sfo.gov.uk/press-room/latest-press-releases/press-releases-2014/money-laundering-investigation-opened.aspx.
 Cynthia O’Murchu and Melissa Hancock, Reed Business Information faces scrutiny over sanctions, Fin. Times, May 1, 2014, available at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a2107ba4-c659-11e3-ba0e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3O3y8ojcA.
 Financial Conduct Authority, TR14/16 – How small banks manage money laundering and sanctions risk: update, Nov. 14, 2014, available at http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/thematic-reviews/tr14-16.
 OFAC Guidance Relating to the Provision of Certain Temporary Sanctions Relief in Order to Implement the Joint Plan of Action Reached on November 24, 2013, Between the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as Extended Through June 30, 2015, available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/guidance_ext_11252004.pdf.
 David Sanger & Michael Gordon, U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months, N.Y. Times, Nov. 24, 2014, at A14. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-talks.html.
 See, e.g., Patricia Zengerle, Iran Extension Prompts Calls for More Sanctions in U.S. Congress, Reuters, Nov. 24, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/24/us-iran-nuclear-usa-congress-idUSKCN0J81S820141124.
 See Section I.B.2. for a description of the major provisions of this legislation. For a more in-depth discussion of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, see Client Alert, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, President Obama Signs the Ukraine Freedom Support Act into Law, Authorizing New Sanctions on Russian Entities and Foreign Companies Conducting Business in Russia (Dec. 22, 2014), https://www.gibsondunn.com/president-obama-signs-the-ukraine-freedom-support-act-into-law-authorizing-new-sanctions-on-russian-entities-and-foreign-companies-conducting-business-in-russia/.
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