On January 5, 2023, President Biden signed into law the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022 (the “PAIP Act”),[1] bipartisan legislation that authorizes the imposition of sanctions on foreign persons that have engaged in significant theft of trade secrets of U.S. persons.[2] 

Continue Reading PAIP Act Authorizes Sanctions for Trade Secret Theft by Chinese Actors

In addition to the maritime services ban targeting Russian Federation-origin crude oil, which we wrote about here[1], the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) recently has taken actions related to, and having implications for, the international oil sector.  Certain of those actions suggest a potential easing of oil sector-related sanctions on Venezuela while others show a continued focus on the Iranian oil sector.

Continue Reading Recent OFAC Actions Related to the Oil Sector

On December 5, 2022, the maritime services ban targeting Russian-origin crude oil that previously had been announced by an international coalition of countries, including the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom, took effect.  While each coalition member has enacted its own measures to give effect to the ban (as we discussed previously here[1]), the measures enacted by the coalition members are generally consistent and include the same major features, namely, a maritime services ban and associated price cap “safe harbor” or exemption.[2]  Since the effective date of the maritime services ban, Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a decree prohibiting the supply of Russian-origin oil and oil products to certain foreign persons applying the price cap, and OFAC has issued additional guidance relating to the upcoming implementation of the maritime services ban with respect to Russian-origin petroleum products.

Continue Reading Recent Developments Regarding the Maritime Services Ban on Russian-Origin Crude Oil and Petroleum Products (with Price Cap “Safe Harbor” or Exemption)

On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced related enforcement settlements with Bittrex, Inc., a U.S.-based digital asset exchange and hosted wallet services company (the “Company”), to settle violations of U.S. sanctions and the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and related regulations, respectively.[1]  The OFAC Settlement, the largest of OFAC’s digital asset-related enforcement actions to date, and the FinCEN Consent Order collectively result in the Company paying a civil penalty of approximately $30 million.  Following OFAC’s release of its “Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry” (which we wrote about here)[2] and recent revelations regarding prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice of digital asset-related U.S. sanctions violations (which we wrote about here),[3] this joint OFAC-FinCEN enforcement action illustrates the U.S. government’s continued focus on the digital asset industry’s compliance with U.S. sanctions and the potentially significant penalties parties can face for U.S. sanctions and BSA violations.
Continue Reading OFAC and FinCEN Announce Joint Enforcement Action Against U.S.-Based Digital Asset Exchange

On September 9, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued preliminary guidance (Preliminary Guidance) providing the initial outline of a long-anticipated price cap on Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products (Price Cap), taking effect December 5, 2022 and February 5, 2023, respectively.[1]  The Price Cap is expected to be implemented by “a coalition of countries including the G7 and the EU” and follows an earlier statement of intent issued September 2, 2022 by G7 finance ministers.[2]
Continue Reading U.S. Treasury Department Issues Preliminary Guidance on Russian Oil Price Cap and Services Ban

Cleary Gottlieb partner Chase Kaniecki and associate Samuel Chang co-authored “Sanctions Compliance and Contingency Planning: Lessons From the Conflict in Ukraine,” a special expert briefing article in Financier Worldwide’s August 2022 issue.

Since 2001, Financier Worldwide has reported on corporate finance and board-level business issues.

To read the full article, click here.

We are witnessing a new dispute resolution landscape emerge as a result of the ongoing situation in Ukraine.

We have created a dedicated taskforce of specialists that aims to help our clients through this challenging time as the number of business and legal issues arising from the conflict continues to increase. This includes sharing market experience, insight and providing practical advice. We will examine and share with you in the coming weeks the key disputes and risk related issues we see clients focusing on.
Continue Reading Russia-Ukraine Disputes Taskforce

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