Late on Friday, August 2, 2019, the U.S. Administration announced that it would implement a second wave of sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) against the Russian Federation.  These sanctions will;

  • prohibit U.S. financial institutions from participating in future primary issuances of non-ruble Russian sovereign debt;
  • require the United States to oppose any new assistance to Russia by international financial institutions; and
  • prohibit the export to Russia of dual-use goods controlled for chemical or biological warfare reasons.


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Late in the evening of August 1, 2019, President Trump signed an executive order (the Executive Order) re-delegating implementation of certain sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) to the Secretary of the Treasury.  According to press reports, the Administration may be preparing for a second round of CBW Act sanctions against Russia as a result of the Skripal poisoning.

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Over the last few weeks, the U.S. House and Senate have separately passed a number of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (the “NDAA”) that, if enacted, would expand sanctions on persons and activities related to North Korea, China, Russia, Burma, and certain Central American states.
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On February 13, 2019, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a draft bill that, if adopted, would significantly strengthen sanctions relating to the Russian Federation.  Introduced as the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019” (“DASKA”), the wide-ranging bill covers a number of subjects, in particular a range of new cybersecurity provisions.  This note focuses on the sanctions provisions, which would:
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The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department recently issued a series of instructive press releases regarding enforcement actions taken against several companies.  The decision to publicize these enforcement actions could signal a more activist and expansionist approach to sanctions enforcement matters and may evidence a broadening of OFAC’s enforcement priorities as the long run of enforcement against financial institutions begins to wind down.  The actions demonstrate a focus on acquisition due diligence and conduct by overseas entities, and in particular on aggressive action against U.S. companies who fail to terminate sanctioned business by their newly acquired overseas subsidiaries; indeed, in a number of these cases OFAC took enforcement action despite the fact that the U.S. acquiror explicitly directed the termination of the sanctioned business, was deceived by officials of the acquired entity, and voluntarily self-reported the violation after discovering it.  OFAC has also begun to spell out, in enforcement actions, the elements of sanctions compliance programs it imposes on violators (and, presumably, would consider a benchmark for other companies).
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On August 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of State announced in a press release that in reaction to the use of the nerve agent “Novichok” in the attempted assassination of UK citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the United States would introduce sanctions on the Russian Government under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination act of 1991 (the “CBW Act”).  The State Department announced that the sanctions will take effect on or around August 22, 2018.
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On April 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended the authorized period for activities within U.S. jurisdiction ordinarily incident to maintenance or winding-down of business involving United Company Rusal plc (RUSAL) and its direct and indirect subsidiaries until October 23, 2018. This extension is implemented through both the issuance of new General License 14 (GL 14) and revisions to previously issued General License 12, now re-issued as General License 12A. OFAC also provided guidance on GL 14 through new FAQs.
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On April 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (“Treasury”) Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), in consultation with the U.S. Department of State, designated three dozen Russian “oligarchs,” government officials, and related entities as specially designated nationals (“SDNs”).  All were designated under pre-existing Ukraine/Russia-related authorities provided by Executive Order (“E.O.”) 13661, relating to

On February 12, 2018, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two new Venezuela-related frequently asked questions (FAQs) providing additional guidance on how late payments will be treated for purposes of the prohibitions on dealing in “new debt” of the Government of Venezuela and of state-owned entities.  Most notably, the new guidance prohibits acceptance of late payments on post-sanctions debt of Government of Venezuela entities if those payments are received outside the applicable 30- or 90-day limit under Executive Order 13808, even if the failure to pay was not consented to by the lender and violates the underlying agreement.  This guidance likely also has implications for the similar prohibitions on dealings in “new debt” under Russian sectoral sanctions.
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The Treasury Department today released the much-anticipated list of “the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation” required by Section 241 of CAATSA. As we have long advised, the list has no immediate legal impact, and it appears that at least in the short to medium term it is unlikely