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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Biden’s executive order addresses Belarus

Financial Crimes Belarus Of Interest to Non-US Persons Sanctions Department of Treasury OFAC Designations FAQs

Financial Crimes

On August 9, President Biden issued an Executive Order (E.O.) on “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Belarus.” According to the E.O., expanding the scope will address the national emergency declared in E.O. 13405, “finding that the Belarusian regime’s harmful activities and long-standing abuses aimed at suppressing democracy and the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus—including illicit and oppressive activities stemming from the August 9, 2020, fraudulent Belarusian presidential election and its aftermath, such as the elimination of political opposition and civil society organizations and the regime’s disruption and endangering of international civil air travel—constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The E.O blocks property and interests in property that are in the U.S. or in the possession or control of certain persons who meet one or more of the criteria set forth in the order, including those who are determined, among other things: (i) “to be a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Belarus”; (ii) “to be or have been a leader or official of the Government of Belarus”; and (iii) “to operate or have operated in the defense and related materiel sector, security sector, energy sector, potassium chloride (potash) sector, tobacco products sector, construction sector, or transportation sector of the economy of Belarus, or any other sector of the Belarus economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.” The Treasury Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is authorized to take actions, including promulgating rules and regulations, to carry out the purposes of the E.O.

The same day, OFAC issued Belarus General License (GL) 4, related FAQs 916, 917 and 918, and added names to OFAC’s SDN list. Specifically, GL 4 authorizes the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Belaruskali OAO through December 8.