Sanctions Top-5 for the week ending 25 February 2022

  1. The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Directive 4 under Executive Order 14024 prohibiting US persons from transacting with Russia’s Central Bank, National Wealth Fund, and Ministry of Finance. The EU prohibited “transactions related to the management of reserves as well as of assets of the Central Bank of Russia” and persons acting on behalf of, or at the direction of, the bank. Canada also barred its banks from transacting with Russia’s Central Bank and Russian sovereign wealth funds. Other members of the G7 are expected to impose similar restrictions. Earlier, the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States issued a joint statement announcing that “selected” Russian banks will lose access to the SWIFT payment network.
  2. President Biden issued Executive Order 14065 imposing comprehensive sanctions on the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) and any other areas in Ukraine that may be designated later. (Note: the DNR and the LNR are not coterminous with the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.) OFAC followed with a series of sanctions including: (i) blocking sanctions on several Russian financial institutions, individuals, and entities identified as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) (including Nord Stream 2 AG, Vladimir Putin, and Sergei Lavrov); (ii) sectoral-style sanctions under a new Directive 3 which prohibits US persons from dealing in new equity and new debt of longer than 14 days of listed entities; and (iii) correspondent and payable-through account sanctions on Sberbank and 25 subsidiaries. (Find the OFAC announcements here, here, here, here, and here.) Wind-down periods and general licenses apply to some activities. The US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to impose broad new export controls on a wide range of items, including new restrictions on military end users in Russia.
  3. The EU issued several updates to its Russia/Ukraine-related regulations imposing asset freezes on hundreds of individuals and entities, sectoral sanctions, and trade restrictions on the DNR and the LNR. The EU also sanctioned several Russian banks, Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov, and members of Russia’s National Security Council. New export controls will restrict transfers of certain goods and technology from the EU to Russia for use in strategic sectors, including energy and aviation, among others. (For a summary and list of EU regulations, see my colleagues’ blog posts here and here.) Switzerland announced it would also adopt the EU sanctions packages.
  4. The UK imposed asset freezes on numerous individuals (also including Putin and Lavrov), entities, and banks, and announced plans to adopt legislation to expand sanctions on dozens of targets and impose trade restrictions on the DNR and the LNR, among other tough measures. (For a summary of the first two tranches of UK sanctions and planned legislation, see my colleague’s blog posts here and here.)
  5. Canada joined other nations in imposing asset freezes on numerous individuals, banks, and entities and trade restrictions on the DNR and the LNR. Australia did the same. Both countries will sanction Putin and Lavrov, among other officials. Japan announced it will sanction three Russian banks and various officials. Singapore and South Korea announced sanctions.

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