Sanctions Top-5 for the week ending 26 June 2020

  1. The US Senate passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which, if passed, would authorize sanctions against non-US persons and financial institutions in connection with Beijing’s planned national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (expected today). The Act still has to make it through the House of Representatives before becoming law. Word on the street, it could end up in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. (Drop me a line to receive my separate Hong Kong-related updates.)
  2. In related news, the US State Department announced that it would impose visa restrictions on certain Chinese Communist Party officials for “undermin[ing] human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.” No word yet on who the targets are, but the State Department news release says it could include officials and their family members. (China responded in kind.)
  3. The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named seven companies in Iran, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) under Executive Order 13871 for operating in Iran’s iron, steel, and aluminum sectors. OFAC also designated a China and Hong Kong-based company under Section 1245 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act for transferring graphite to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
  4. OFAC named five Iranian nationals as SDNs under Executive Order 13599 for captaining vessels owned or operated by IRISL and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). The vessels recently delivered Iranian gasoline to Venezuela.
  5. Switzerland’s Federal Council adopted financial sanctions and travel bans against six individuals in Nicaragua for “ongoing violations against human rights, democracy and the rule of law” by the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. The European Union sanctioned the individuals in May 2020. OFAC sanctioned them between July 2018 and March 2020 (here, here, here, here, and here).

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