Sanctions Top-5 for the week ending 16 April 2021

Here are five things that happened this week in the world of economic sanctions that I think you should know about.

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  1. The Biden administration unveiled a package of Russia-related sanctions in response to the recent SolarWinds hack, US election interference, Crimea, and other “harmful foreign activities.” The measures include a new Executive Order 14024 authorizing blocking sanctions on a wide range of Russian targets, Directive 1 imposing new restrictions on Russian government debt, and sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities named as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). Russia announced countermeasures. (More on this below.)

Comments

Don’t confuse the new Directive 1 under Executive Order 14024 with Directive 1 under Executive Order 13662. The latter is part of OFAC’s sectoral sanctions program (also Russia-related). The former restricts US financial institutions from participating in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by, or lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to, Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, or Ministry of Finance. (Silly question: why not just say “bonds” and “funds”? And does the existence of Directive 1 imply a Directive 2?)

The new directive is patterned on the August 2019 CBW Act Directive, which imposed restrictions on non-ruble denominated bonds and lending to the “Russian sovereign.” (Let’s call the CBW Act Directive “Directive Zero” for fun.) The new directive focuses on three specific Russian entities, and, as clarified in newly issued FAQ 891, does not apply to entities owned 50 percent or more by them. The new directive also does not apply to the secondary market for bonds, as stated in newly issued FAQ 889.

Exciting stuff: Join us for ACI’s virtual Asia-Pacific Advanced Conference on Economic Sanctions Compliance and Enforcement on 27–28 May 2021 to learn about all things sanctions. Get more information and register at this link. (Ping me for the 10% discount code.)

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(The views expressed are my own and do not constitute legal advice. Photo from Vladislav Reshetnyak.)

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Nicholas Turner

US attorney in Hong Kong specializing in economic sanctions, financial crimes. Sign up for emails: http://eepurl.com/cVhTXf LinkedIn at: http://goo.gl/KX1jER