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. Continue Reading OFAC Issues Guidance on Payments under Venezuelan “New Debt”; Likely to Affect Russian Sectoral Sanctions as Well

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 to affect U.S. sanctions policy. The list is a mechanical compilation of 210 names using objective criteria and, at least in its unclassified version, provides little basis to single individuals out for sanctions.

Click here, to read the full alert.

On December 14, 2017, Cleary Gottlieb partner Paul Marquardt led a presentation titled, “Developments in U.S. Sanctions Against Iran, Russia, and Venezuela” as part of PLI’s Coping With U.S. Export Controls and Sanctions 2017 conference.

To view the full presentation, click here.

For additional information regarding the conference, please visit the event’s website.

On September 20, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13810, imposing additional sanctions against North Korea.  Most notably, the new Executive Order provides for a “secondary sanctions” regime, threatening to impose U.S. sanctions against persons engaging in targeted transactions (whether or not they have any connection to the United States). Continue Reading United States Imposes Secondary Sanctions on Dealings with North Korea

On August 25, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order severely restricting transactions in debt and equity of the Government of Venezuela and of state-owned entities; including Petroleos de Venezuela; S.A. (PdVSA). Simultaneously with the Executive Order; OFAC issued a number of general licenses and Frequently Asked Questions relating to the new sanctions. These new actions build on sanctions targeting Venezuelan officials; discussed here; and continue the trend toward targeted “bespoke” sanctions short of full blocking of all transactions with a targeted regime or country.

The new sanctions:

  • Prohibit dealings in existing debt of the Government of Venezuela (and its controlled entities) by U.S. persons or within U.S. jurisdiction; subject to an extensive list of exceptions for specified issuances;
  • Prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within U.S. jurisdiction in new debt of the Government of Venezuela with a duration of longer than 30 days and of PdVSA with a duration of longer than 90 days; or new equity of any state-controlled entity;
  • Bar the purchase of securities from the Government of Venezuela within U.S. jurisdiction; other than permitted new debt; and
  • Bar all distributions of profits and earnings within U.S. jurisdiction to the Government of Venezuela by state-owned entities.

Click here, to continue reading.


On August 2, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia. Days earlier, the proposed legislation sparked a vigorous reaction in the European Union.

On July 26, 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of “unintended unilateral effects that impact the EU’s energy security interests”. In the same vein, the French government opined that the extra-territorial reach of the text appears to breach international law. The German and Austrian governments also issued a joint statement disapproving of the proposal’s encroachment into European energy supply matters. Continue Reading EU Reacts to Impact of Russia Sanctions Bill on European Energy Investments

On July 31, OFAC designated Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Moros as a “Specially Designated National” (“SDN”) blocking all of his assets and prohibiting any transaction in which he has an interest within U.S. jurisdiction. Last week, on July 26, OFAC designated 13 other current and former Venezuelan officials as SDNs, including Rocco Albisinni Serrano, who is the President of CENCOEX (the Venezuelan foreign exchange authority), and Simon Alejandro Zerpa Delgado, who is the Vice President of Finance for PDVSA and the President of Venezuela’s Economic and Social Development Bank (“BANDES”), and the President of Venezuela’s National Development Fund (“FONDEN”). There have been rumors that the United States was considering restricting oil sales from Venezuela, but at the moment no such sanctions have been imposed. Continue Reading OFAC Sanctions Venezuelan Officials

On July ­­25, 2017, the United States House adopted H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (“CAATS”), a compromise measure incorporating both House and Senate sanctions proposals.  The vote was 419-3.  CAATS was approved by the Senate on July 27, 2017 (the vote was 98-2).  It now awaits signature by President Trump (who in any event appears to lack sufficient support to uphold a veto).

Continue Reading Congress Reaches Agreement on New Sanctions against Russia, North Korea, and Iran