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 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.[1]  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

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

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

On February 11, 2020, Judge Stanton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied Dresser-Rand Company’s (Dresser Rand) motion for summary judgment in a suit to collect on a promissory note issued by Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA).  The Court’s decision turned on a finding that payment by PdVSA was legally impossible under U.S. sanctions.  That finding was based on incomplete briefing by the parties and appears seriously flawed given the licenses and guidance provided by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  We discuss the decision and the U.S. sanctions regime as applied to the promissory note below.
Continue Reading District Court Decision Incorrectly Holds that OFAC Sanctions Bar PdVSA from Making Payment on Pre-Sanctions Debts

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a rule, effective immediately, lowering the permissible level of de minimis U.S.-origin content in goods to be exported to Cuba.  Items manufactured outside the United States now may have no more than 10% U.S.-origin content (reduced from 25%) if they are to

On August 5, 2019, the U.S. Administration imposed blocking sanctions on the Government of Venezuela (“GOV”) under a new executive order. Although named individual officials, the Central Bank of Venezuela, and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PdVSA”) were already blocked entities under U.S. sanctions, now all Venezuelan government entities and state-owned enterprises are blocked entities.

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On April 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that the Central Bank of Venezuela has been designated as a specially designated national (SDN) under Executive Order 13850, banning all transactions within U.S. jurisdiction in which it has an interest. As a result, any party who materially assists, sponsors, or provides financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the Central Bank of Venezuela now risks designation, whether or not the transaction takes place within U.S. jurisdiction.  
Continue Reading Venezuela Sanctions Tighten: OFAC Sanctions the Venezuelan Central Bank and Senators Propose Sanctions Legislation

On March 8, 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) further amended the general licenses governing secondary trading of pre-sanctions Government of Venezuela (GoV) debt and Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) debt and equity by issuing new General Licenses (GL) 3D and