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
Last Updated: May 19, 2022
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.
Provided below are links to the summaries of the measures adopted by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Russia and other jurisdictions, along with a chart summarizing the U.S., EU, UK and Swiss sanctions designation status of certain noteworthy Russian entities and individuals.
The pages linked below will continue to be updated regularly as part of our Russia-Ukraine Sanctions Resource Center to reflect new developments.
On 27 April 2022, the German government blocked the acquisition of German medical products manufacturer Heyer Medical AG by the Chinese Aeonmed Group. Continue Reading Germany Prohibits Acquisition of Heyer Medical by Chinese Investor
On 4 April 2022, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz – “BMWK“) seized control over Gazprom Germania GmbH (“Gazprom Germany“) by implementing measures under the German FDI rules. The decision was executed by way of a publicly issued administrative act, based on grounds of imminent danger for public order and security. Continue Reading Germany Takes Over Control of German Gazprom Subsidiary by Using Unprecedented Measures Under Germany’s FDI Regime
On April 6, 2022, the European Commission (“EC”) issued a communication calling for greater vigilance towards foreign direct investment (“FDI”) from Russia and Belarus, and guiding Member States on how best to screen and examine these investments going forward. The EU FDI alert follows the recently adopted EU sanctions package against both countries. Continue Reading EU On Alert Towards Russian FDI
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo recently expressed support for a screening regime to review outbound investments. This, as well as similar statements from the White House and the passage of legislation calling for such a process earlier this year, signals that certain outbound investments could be subject to U.S. regulatory review and approval in the near future. Continue Reading Support for “Reverse CFIUS” Outbound Investment Screening Regime Grows
On March 21, 2022, the Italian Government enacted a law-decree (“Decree”) to address the economic and humanitarian effects of the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The Decree further broadens Italy’s foreign direct investments (“FDI”) regime, by giving the Government the permanent power to review (a) acquisitions of controlling stakes by European Economic Area (“EEA”) investors (including Italian persons) in the energy, transport, communications, financial, health and agri-food sectors, and (b) minority investments made by non-EEA investors, in every “strategic” sector.
Prior to the Decree, these transactions would be reviewable only until the end of 2022 pursuant to certain CoViD-19 emergency measures.
The extension of the Government powers to acquisitions by EEA investors outside the defense and national security sector raises doubts of compliance with EU law.
Moreover, the Decree envisages an active role of the target company in the screening process, and mandates the Government to introduce rules for the pre-filing process, as well as a simplified screening procedure.
Finally, the Decree reforms the rules on 5G technology procurement.
The structural extension in the scope of transactions subject to the Government review, combined with the recent expansion of strategic sectors, corroborates the expectation that the number of FDI filings will continue its steady growth, after the spike observed after the CoViD-19 emergency measures were introduced in 2020.
Please click here to read the full memorandum.
On March 9, 2022, President Biden signed a wide-ranging Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets. While the Order does not mandate any particular regulatory prescriptions, it lays out key policy goals for a whole-of-government approach to digital asset regulation and directs the U.S. Government to assess the potential for a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency. Reflecting the rapid growth and adoption of digital assets, the Order identifies potential benefits and risks while signifying that digital assets will be an important focus of U.S. financial regulatory efforts for the Biden Administration.
Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.
U.S. federal and state authorities recently announced actions that are designed to give effect to economic measures taken against Russia and hold accountable those who violate U.S. laws. These developments suggest that U.S. authorities’ focus on enforcing U.S. sanctions and export controls, anticorruption and anti-money laundering laws, and the growing scrutiny of cryptocurrency, will continue. They also point to further coordination and cooperation between authorities in the U.S. and other jurisdictions in investigating and prosecuting violations of their respective laws. Continue Reading Authorities in U.S. Take Steps to Strengthen Enforcement of U.S. Measures Against Russia
The European Commission (“EC”) recently published its first annual report on the new European cooperation mechanism regarding the screening of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) into the EU (the “Report”). The Report shows that four out of every five FDI filings screened at the EU level were quickly resolved within Phase I, while the remaining filings were pushed to Phase II (or were pending at the time of the Report) subject to additional information being requested from the notifying Member State. The EC issued a formal opinion in 3% of the screened notifications (although the ultimate outcome of these cases was not reported). It is, though, too early to draw any meaningful conclusions out of these initial statistics.
While the EC and Member States have overall deemed the EU FDI cooperation mechanism efficient and reliable, it has also attracted criticism by Member States due to associated burden and procedural issues driven by variations among the Member States’ FDI rules.
Transaction parties are well-advised to carefully consider how best to navigate this continually developing FDI framework in the EU.
Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.