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Chase Kaniecki’s practice focuses on international trade and national security matters, including CFIUS and global foreign direct investment, economic sanctions, export controls, customs, and trade remedies.

Recent developments regarding global competition enforcement and foreign direct investment, or FDI, review regimes have created uncertainty for cross-border transactions.  Specifically, global merger control authorities have become increasingly aggressive in “calling in” transactions under so-called “voluntary” regimes and a number of FDI review regimes recently have been established or expanded.  These developments have resulted in

In a recent opinion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that there is probable cause to find that a U.S. citizen-defendant violated U.S. sanctions by funneling cryptocurrency to a payments platform that the defendant operated in a “comprehensively sanctioned country.”
Continue Reading U.S. Federal Judge Finds Probable Cause for Conspiracy to Violate U.S. Sanctions and to Defraud the United States in First Published Opinion Discussing U.S. Sanctions Violations Involving Use of Cryptocurrency

The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is reportedly taking steps toward a limited easing of certain sanctions targeting Venezuela.  If the public reporting is accurate, these limited concessions are being made by the Biden administration in connection with the resumption of negotiations between the Maduro regime and Venezuelan opposition leaders regarding the political situation and future elections in Venezuela.  As of the date of this blog post, no official U.S. government announcements regarding such measures have been made.
Continue Reading U.S. Government Reportedly Taking Steps Toward Limited Easing of Venezuela-Related Sanctions

The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, along with a number of other jurisdictions, have responded to the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine by adopting new, additional and/or enhanced economic sanctions, trade restrictions and other restrictive measures targeting, in different ways, Russia, Belarus, and the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, which Russia has purported to recognize as independent states.  Russia, in turn, has responded to these restrictive measures by adopting its own countermeasures and related regulations affecting, for example, certain dealings involving non-Russians in Russia.
Continue Reading Sanctions Developments Resulting From the Conflict in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo recently expressed support for a screening regime to review outbound investments.[1]  This, as well as similar statements from the White House and the passage of legislation calling for such a process earlier this year, signals that certain outbound investments could be subject to U.S. regulatory review and approval in the near future.[2]
Continue Reading Support for “Reverse CFIUS” Outbound Investment Screening Regime Grows

U.S. federal and state authorities recently announced actions that are designed to give effect to economic measures taken against Russia and hold accountable those who violate U.S. laws.  These developments suggest that U.S. authorities’ focus on enforcing U.S. sanctions and export controls, anticorruption and anti-money laundering laws, and the growing scrutiny of cryptocurrency, will continue.  They also point to further coordination and cooperation between authorities in the U.S. and other jurisdictions in investigating and prosecuting violations of their respective laws.
Continue Reading Authorities in U.S. Take Steps to Strengthen Enforcement of U.S. Measures Against Russia

The U.S. National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)[1] recently published an updated list of critical and emerging technologies (CETs) as part of an ongoing effort to identify advanced technologies that are potentially significant to U.S. national security.
Continue Reading Updates to the Critical and Emerging Technologies List Signal Additional Areas of Focus

On February 10, 2022, the United Kingdom published new legislation (the “Amendment”) significantly expanding the scope of targets on which the UK government may impose sanctions relating to Russia.[1]  The Amendment, which was issued in response to the current situation in Ukraine and takes immediate effect, broadens the designation criteria of the existing Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.[2]  Whereas the existing provisions were limited to persons directly engaged in activities relating to the “destabilisation” of Ukraine,[3] the Amendment further authorizes sanctions against:

  • any “Government of Russia-affiliated entity,” defined as entities:
    • directly or indirectly owned or controlled by the Russian government;
    • in which the Russian government directly or indirectly holds a minority interest;
    • that receive or have received financing directly or indirectly from the Russian Direct Investment Fund or the National Wealth Fund; or
    • which “otherwise obtain a financial benefit or other material benefit” from the Russian government;
  • individuals or entities carrying on business of “economic significance” (which is not further defined) to the Russian government;
  • individuals or entities carrying on business in a sector of “strategic significance” to the Russian government, defined as the Russian chemicals, construction, defence, electronics, energy, extractives, financial services, information, communications and digital technology, and transport sectors; and
  • individuals or entities that directly or indirectly own or control or work as a director (whether executive or non-executive), trustee, or equivalent of any entity in the above categories.

As before, sanctions imposed under the United Kingdom’s Russia sanctions program include an asset freeze, travel ban (for individuals), prohibition on making funds or economic resources available to or for the benefit of the designated party, and prohibition on dealing with funds or economic resources of the designated party (as well as entities owned or controlled by the designated party).

Continue Reading United Kingdom Broadens Scope of Potential Russian Sanctions Targets

U.S. sanctions policy in the first year of the Biden administration saw both change and continuity. As expected, the administration sought to cooperate with allies to impose multilateral (rather than unilateral) sanctions, focused on human rights abuses and opened the door for a new nuclear deal with Iran. At the same time, the administration continued to focus on virtual currencies and on combating illicit cyber activities relating to ransomware, and clarified (and in some respects expanded) sanctions issued under the Trump administration targeting Chinese companies deemed to be part of the Chinese military-industrial complex.
Continue Reading Economic Sanctions: Developments and Considerations