As the second anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine approaches, the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom continue to focus on and tighten sanctions against Russia, with a particular emphasis on preventing circumvention and evasion of sanctions. For example, 2023 ended with several significant regulatory developments, including the EU 12th package of sanctions against Russia, discussed in our earlier alert, and new U.S. sanctions-related authority targeting foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) supporting Russia’s military-industrial base. This update focuses on the latter development, which is a significant development for FFIs that remain engaged in business involving Russia, even if such business is undertaken outside of U.S. jurisdiction.Continue Reading Impact of Recent U.S. Secondary Sanctions Authority Targeting Foreign Financial Institutions Supporting Russia’s Military-Industrial Base
The English court took a mixed approach to judicial intervention in a number of cross-jurisdictional cases last year, although some further (welcome) clarity has recently been provided by the Court of Appeal. Perhaps the most salient and recent example of this has been the Court’s perceived willingness to grant Anti-Suit Injunctions (“ASIs”) to restrain foreign proceedings brought in breach of a foreign-seated arbitration clause. These recent cases have largely arisen following Russia’s 2020 amendment to Article 248 of the Arbitrazh (Commercial) Procedure Code (“2020 Amendment”), which itself was a direct policy response to Western sanctions against Russian companies and individuals following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.Continue Reading Mixed-Interventionist Approach to Cross-Jurisdictional Issues arising from Sanctions
The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.
Continued volatility in geopolitical events this past year and corresponding responses in sanctions policies highlight the importance of integrating economic sanctions considerations in board agendas for 2024. In particular, boards of directors should be aware of the increasing global collaboration among sanctions authorities as well as the continuing expansion and application of sanctions in new domains such as digital assets. Sanctions developments can be expected to be particularly fluid in 2024 with respect to China, Russia and Venezuela.Continue Reading Economic Sanctions: Developments and Lessons for Boards in 2024
On December 18, 2023, the European Union (the “EU”) imposed a number of new economic and individual restrictive measures in relation to Russia (the “12th Package”).Continue Reading Further EU Sanctions Against Russia: Council Adopts 12th Package
A key feature of the UK’s financial sanctions framework is that not only designated persons (listed on the UK’s Consolidated List) are subject to sanctions, but also entities that are ‘owned or controlled’ by designated persons, even if not themselves listed.Continue Reading The Control Test in the UK’s Sanctions Framework: Recent Developments
On October 23, 2023, the European Commission (the “Commission”) updated its non-binding Frequently-Asked-Questions guidance relating to the EU’s Russia-related sanctions regime (the “FAQs”). Specifically, the Commission provided guidance on the meaning of ‘acting on behalf or at the direction of’ an entity in the context of sanctions targeting state-owned enterprises.Continue Reading European Commission Publishes New Guidance on Scope of Sanctions Prohibitions
In June 2019, PJSC National Bank Trust (the “First Claimant”) and PJSC Bank Otkritie Financial Corporation (the “Second Claimant”) commenced litigation in the English High Court, claiming substantial damages on basis of alleged conspiracies resulting in uncommercial transactions whereby loans were replaced with worthless or near worthless bonds.
Following the designation…
On October 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a number of general licenses easing sanctions targeting Venezuela. The general licenses authorize: (i) U.S. persons to purchase bonds issued by certain Venezuelan government entities prior to August 25, 2017 on the secondary market, (ii) transactions related to oil and gas sector operations in Venezuela for a six-month period, and (iii) transactions with the Venezuelan state-owned gold mining company. OFAC also issued additional guidance, including Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) relating to these general licenses. Continue Reading OFAC Eases Venezuela Sanctions; Lifts Secondary Market Trading Ban on U.S. Persons
Investments in Luxembourg entities closed after September 1, 2023—including those signed beforehand—will need to factor in potential FDI filings in the Grand Duchy. The Luxembourg FDI law establishes a mandatory screening system for non-EEA investments made on a lasting basis in legal entities incorporated in Luxembourg and carrying out critical activities. Luxembourg follows in the footsteps of its Benelux counterparts that introduced new FDI regimes in the past two months.Continue Reading Benelux FDI: Luxembourg FDI Screening Regime Enters Into Force
Russian legislative and executive branches have passed new acts further restricting the rights of foreign shareholders of Russian businesses.
First, on July 24, 2023 it was announced that President Putin continued to work on the draft of the Decree that would provide the state with the preemptive right to acquire Russian assets of foreign companies exiting Russia. The draft Decree has not been published yet, but it is understood that the preemptive rights will apply only to (i) the strategic companies specifically listed by the Russian Government, and (ii) the joint stock companies in which the state is also a shareholder. This would be the next step that allows for the nationalization of the businesses of exiting foreign investors.Continue Reading Suspension of Rights of Foreign Shareholders and Grant of Pre-emptive Rights to the State to Acquire Russian Assets of Foreign Companies Exiting Russia