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”).[1]

Continue Reading Further EU Sanctions Against Russia: Council Adopts 12th Package
  • The UK Government consults on changes to the National Security and Investment Act.
  • The new Irish FDI regime was signed into law and is expected to come into force in Q2 2024.
  • An update on the state of Dutch FDI review confirms active enforcement and adds clarification on retro-active application.
  • Seemingly small but impactful changes of the French FDI regime ahead.
  • German courts overrule FDI decisions of the German FDI authority. Judicial protection is possible, but more likely succeed on the basis of procedural breaches.
  • The Italian Government vetoes an acquisition in the defense sector by French Safran.
  • The European Commission published its third annual report on EU FDI screening, providing an overview of FDI enforcement trends and statistics and also published the results of its consultation on the evaluation and revision of the EU FDI screening regulation.
Continue Reading Cleary Gottlieb FDI Newsletter: November – December 2023

On November 27, 2023, the Minister responsible for FDI control in the Netherlands updated Parliament on the state of Dutch FDI review[1], including statistics on the number of notifications and investigations.  This is the first official update since the entry into force of the general FDI regime.  The next update is expected in Q1 2024.

Continue Reading Dutch FDI Review: State Of Affairs

On December 7, 2023, the U.S. and Mexican governments signed a Memorandum of Intent (“MOI”) agreeing to cooperate and bolster foreign investment screening.  Both countries have expressed a commitment to establish a bilateral working group for the exchange of information and best practices on foreign investment, with the goal of helping Mexico develop a CFIUS-like screening regime and strengthening the collective security of the United States and Mexico.    

Continue Reading United States and Mexico to Bolster Cooperation in Foreign Direct Investment Screening

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 13 November 2023, the UK Government opened a consultation on proposed changes to the National Security and Investment (NSI) regime, less than two years after the regime came into force.

Oliver Dowden MP, the Deputy Prime Minister and formal decision-maker under the regime in his role as Cabinet Secretary, describes the consultation as an opportunity for respondents to share views on how the NSI regime “can be even more business friendly while maintaining and refining the essential protections” needed to protect national security.

In addition to broader questions on stakeholders’ experience of the regime to date, the consultation seeks views on several possible changes. 

Please click here to read the full alert memo.

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”).[1] 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 of the Second Claimant for purposes of the UK’s Russia-related sanctions regime, the Defendants applied to the court for a stay of proceedings. On 27 January 2023, that application was dismissed in the High Court.

The First to Fourth Defendants brought an appeal against the High Court’s decision which, on October 6, 2023, the Court of Appeal (the “Court”) dismissed.

This memorandum explores the reasoning of the Court’s judgment and its wider implications.

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