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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

President Biden issues executive order addressing crisis in Ethiopia

Financial Crimes OFAC Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury Ethiopia Biden OFAC Sanctions

Financial Crimes

On September 17, President Biden signed a new Executive Order (E.O.), Imposing Sanctions on Certain Persons with Respect to the Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia, that declares a national emergency with respect to the humanitarian and human rights crisis in northern Ethiopia. The E.O. provides the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, with the authority “to impose a range of targeted sanctions on persons determined, among other things, to be responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that expand or extend the ongoing crisis or obstruct a ceasefire or peace process in northern Ethiopia or commit serious human rights abuse.” Concurrently, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued three new general licenses, GLs 1, 2, and 3, which authorize official activities associated with certain international organizations and entities, certain nongovernmental organizations’ activities, and certain transactions associated with the exporting or reexporting of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical items. OFAC also published six related FAQs (see FAQs 922923924925926, and 927), which provide additional clarity concerning the non-application of OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule to property and interests in property of persons blocked pursuant to the new E.O., as well as guidance on activities authorized by the new GLs.  

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