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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OFAC expands Belarusian human rights sanctions; restrict regime’s access to international capital markets

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

Financial Crimes

On December 2, OFAC impos[ed] restrictions on dealings in new issuances of Belarusian sovereign debt in the primary and secondary markets by issuing new Belarus-related Directive 1 under E.O. 14038, which “prohibits transactions in, provision of financing for, or other dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States in new debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days issued on or after December 2, 2021 by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus.” OFAC provided Guidance on Directive 1’s scope and implications through new Frequently Asked Questions 940941942943944945946947948 and updated FAQ 918. Additionally, OFAC issued Belarus General License 5, which authorizes limited transactions and activities necessary for the wind down of transactions involving certain identified entities. OFAC stated that these new restrictions reflect the close coordination between the U.S. and its partners and allies to restrict the Lukashenka regime’s access to international capital markets.

The same day, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13405 against 20 individuals and 12 entities for allegedly enabling the “Lukashenka regime’s blatant disregard for international norms and the wellbeing of its own citizens.” Additionally, OFAC identified three aircraft as blocked property pursuant to E.O.s 14038 and 13405. The action was taken in coordination with the EU, the UK, and Canada.