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  • DOJ seizes $300 million yacht as part of Task Force KleptoCapture; OFAC issues Russia-related general licenses and updated FAQs

    Financial Crimes

    On May 5, the DOJ executed a seizure warrant freezing a $300 million yacht owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, following a determination that the yacht is subject to forfeiture based on probable cause of violations of U.S. law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, money laundering and conspiracy. The Russian oligarch was designated in 2018 by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and Executive Order (E.O.) 13582 (covered by InfoBytes here). According to the DOJ’s announcement, the sanctioned oligarch owned the yacht after his designation and “caused U.S. dollar transactions to be routed through U.S. financial institutions for the support and maintenance of the [yacht].” The seizure was coordinated through the DOJ’s Task Force KleptoCapture, which is “an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, have imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine” (covered by InfoBytes here.)

    The same day OFAC also issued several Russia-related general licenses (GL), including GL 7A, which authorizes “transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the receipt of, and payment of charges for, services rendered in connection with overflights of the Russian Federation or emergency landings in the Russian Federation by aircraft registered in the United States or owned or controlled by, or chartered to, U.S. persons that are prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations”; GL 26A, which authorizes all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Joint Stock Company SB Sberbank Kazakhstan or Sberbank Europe AG, or any entity that Sberbank subsidiaries owns, through July 12, provided certain criteria are met; GL 31, which authorizes certain transactions related to patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other forms of intellectual property protections in the U.S. or Russia that would otherwise be prohibited; and GL 32, which authorizes the wind down of transactions involving Amsterdam Trade Bank NV that would ordinarily be prohibited by E.O. 14024 through July 12. Additionally, OFAC issued one new and one amended Russia-related frequently asked questions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury DOJ Of Interest to Non-US Persons Ukraine Russia Ukraine Invasion OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations

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  • OFAC issues Russian sanctions, general licenses, and expanded E.O.s

    Financial Crimes

    On May 8, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced “sweeping” sanctions, which include the designations of board members from two of Russia’s most important banks, a Russian state-owned bank and 10 of its subsidiaries, a state-supported weapons manufacturer, and three of Russia’s state-controlled television stations that generate revenue for the state. OFAC also published a Determination Pursuant to Section 1(a)(i) of Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 and a Determination Pursuant To Section 1(a)(ii) Of E.O. 14071. According to OFAC's press release, the sanctions, issued pursuant to E.O. 14071, “cut off access to services that are used by the Russian Federation and Russian elites to evade sanctions.” OFAC identified accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting as categories of services that are subject to a prohibition on the export, reexport, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the U.S., or by a U.S. person, wherever located, to any person located in the Russian Federation. Additionally, OFAC determined that these same services sectors of the Russian Federation economy are subject to sanctions pursuant to E.O. 14024. OFAC also issued four Russia-related general licenses (GLs): (i) GL 25A authorizes transactions related to telecommunications and certain internet-based communications; GL 33 authorizes the wind down of operations or existing contracts involving certain blocked entities; GL 34 authorizes the wind down of accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services; and GL 35 authorizes transactions involving credit rating and auditing services. OFAC also issued a new frequently asked question clarifying transactions related to telecommunications and certain internet-based communications that involve Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1, or Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company authorized by Russia-related GL 25A.

    OFAC also recently published amended Russia-related frequently asked questions 1034, 1035, and 1038 clarifying, among other things, (i) terms related to Executive Order (E.O.) 14071’s prohibition on certain accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services; (ii) what “credit rating services” and “auditing services” mean under General License 35; and (iii) certain activities related to products and services in or involving the Russian Federation in relation to E.O. 14024.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Of Interest to Non-US Persons Ukraine Russia Ukraine Invasion OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations

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  • OFAC amends and reissues the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations

    Financial Crimes

    On April 29, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it amended and reissued the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations, renaming them the Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations. According to OFAC, this action replaces the regulations that were published in abbreviated form on May 8, 2014 with a more comprehensive set of regulations, including additional interpretive and definitional guidance, general licenses, and other regulatory provisions. OFAC also announced that it is revising several FAQs for the Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations. OFAC also noted that “[t[he publication of this final rule has triggered an automatic administrative update to a number of sanctions entries. The unique identifier numbers (UIDs) for the affected entries are listed . . . as part of this administrative update.” The Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations take effect May 2.

    The same week, OFAC published Russia-related General License 30, “Authorizing Transactions Involving Gazprom Germania GmbH Prohibited by Directive 3 under Executive Order 14024,” which authorizes all transactions involving Gazprom Germania GmbH, or any entity in which Gazprom Germania GmbH owns, under certain criteria.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC Of Interest to Non-US Persons Ukraine Ukraine Invasion Russia OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations

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  • OFAC issues new Ukraine-/Russia-related general licenses and updated FAQs

    Financial Crimes

    On April 25, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Ukraine-/Russia-related General License (GL) 13R, “Authorizing the Wind Down of Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in GAZ Group,” which authorizes all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of certain transactions by a non-U.S. person to another non-U.S. person through May 25, provided certain criteria are met. OFAC also issued GL 15L, “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving GAZ Group,” which also authorizes certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving the GAZ Group, or any entity in which the GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. This wind down period also goes through May 25. Additionally, OFAC updated several related frequently asked questions about Ukraine-/Russia-related sanctions.

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

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  • OFAC sanctions facilitators of Russian sanctions evasion

    Financial Crimes

    On April 20, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 14024 against several entities and numerous individuals for attempting to evade sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its international partners on Russia. Included in the designations are a Russian commercial bank, a global network comprised of more than 40 individuals and entities led by a previously designated Russian oligarch (“including organizations whose primary mission is to facilitate sanctions evasion for Russian entities”), and several companies operating in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry. According to OFAC, this is the first time a virtual currency mining company has been sanctioned. In coordination with OFAC’s sanctions, the Department of State took further action by imposing visa restrictions on 635 Russian nationals and three Russian Federation officials for their involvement in human rights abuses, as well as 17 individuals responsible for undermining democracy in Belarus.

    As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned entities in the U.S. are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” OFAC noted that U.S. persons are prohibited from participating in transactions with the sanctioned persons unless authorized by a general or specific license.

    On the same day, OFAC issued new frequently asked question guidance clarifying obligations for credit card operators with regard to payment cards issued by sanctioned Russian financial institutions. OFAC also published two Russia-related general licenses: (i) General License 28 authorizes certain transactions involving a public joint stock company that are “ultimately destined for or originating from Afghanistan”; and (ii) General License 29 authorizes the wind down of transactions involving the same public joint stock company.

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here.

     

    Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury OFAC OFAC Designations OFAC Sanctions Russia Ukraine Ukraine Invasion Department of State SDN List

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  • Treasury releases fact sheet on providing food and humanitarian support to persons impacted by Russian invasion of Ukraine

    Financial Crimes

    On April 19, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a Fact Sheet ​for “Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine” following an event on the topic held by OFAC. The Fact Sheet, among other things, highlights Treasury’s humanitarian-related or other general licenses (GL) issued to support of the people impacted by Russia’s war related to: (i) telecommunications and internet-based communications; (ii) Covid-19 and clinical trials; (iii) NGO activities; (iv) personal remittances; (v) personal maintenance of U.S. individuals; (vi) emergency medical services; (vii) government and international organization official business; (viii) overflight payments, emergency landings, and air ambulance services; (ix) civil maritime services in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions; and (x) journalistic activities.

    The same day, OFAC issued a new Russia-related GL 27, “Certain Transactions in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations’ Activities,” to authorize transactions related to certain activities of NGOs in Russia and Ukraine.

    Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury OFAC Russia Ukraine Ukraine Invasion OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations

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  • OFAC issues Russian general license

    Financial Crimes

    On April 12, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Russia-related General License (GL) 26, “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Joint Stock Company SB Sberbank Kazakhstan or Sberbank Europe AG,” which authorizes all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Joint Stock Company SB Sberbank Kazakhstan or Sberbank Europe AG, or any entity that Sberbank subsidiaries owns, through July 12, provided certain criteria are met. The GL was issued in the wake of Russia’s Sberbank being placed on the SDN list, which prohibits all transactions with Sberbank by U.S. persons, on April 6.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Of Interest to Non-US Persons Russia Ukraine Ukraine Invasion

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  • OFAC sanctions Russian diamond mining and shipbuilding companies, and issues general licenses

    Financial Crimes

    On April 7, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions, pursuant to Executive Order 14024, against a Russian state-owned enterprise (SOE) and the world’s largest diamond mining company, which is also responsible for 90 percent of Russia’s diamond mining capacity. Additionally, the Department of State redesignated a Russian SOE open joint stock company, as well as its subsidiaries and board members. According to OFAC, the company develops and constructs most of the Russian military’s warships, likely including those used in Ukraine. OFAC further noted that it is “cutting off additional sources of support and revenue for the Government of the Russian Federation (GoR) to wage its unprovoked war against Ukraine.” As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned entities in the U.S. are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” OFAC noted that U.S. persons are prohibited from participating in transactions with the sanctioned persons, which includes “the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from any such person.”

    On the same day, OFAC issued several Russia-related general licenses: (i) General License 9C authorizes “transactions related to dealings in certain debt or equity”; (ii) General License 10C authorizes “certain transactions related to derivative contracts”; (iii) General License 21A authorizes “the wind down of Sberbank CIB USA, Inc. and Alrosa USA, Inc.”; (vi) General License 24 authorizes “the wind down of transactions involving public joint stock company Alrosa”; and (v) General License 25 authorizes “transactions related to telecommunications and certain internet-based communications.”

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here.
     

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations Ukraine Russia Ukraine Invasion Of Interest to Non-US Persons SDN List

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  • OFAC prohibits new investment in Russia and blocks Russia’s largest bank, executive order foreshadows more Russian export bans

    Financial Crimes

    On April 6, OFAC announced that President Biden issued a new E.O., Prohibiting New Investment in and Certain Services to the Russian Federation in Response to Continued Russian Federation Aggression, which bans “all new investment in the Russian Federation by U.S. persons, wherever located, as well as the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the U.S., or by a U.S. person, wherever located, of any category of services as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to any person located in the Russian Federation.” According to OFAC, the prohibitions come after recently issued E.O. 14066 and 14068 that prohibit certain imports and exports involving Russia, and are consistent with commitments made by the G7 leaders to ensure that their citizens are not underwriting Putin’s war.

    OFAC also announced full blocking sanctions, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14025, on Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank and Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private bank, in addition to targeting family members of President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov, as well as Russian Security Council members who are complicit in the war against Ukraine. 

    Earlier this week, OFAC also announced sanctions, in collaboration with the DOJ, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations, against the world’s largest and most prominent darknet market. According to OFAC, the designation was enhanced by international collaboration with the German Federal Criminal Police, who seized the designated entity’s servers in Germany and $25 million worth of bitcoin. Additionally, OFAC identified more than 100 virtual currency addresses connected to the entity’s operations that have been used to conduct illicit transactions. OFAC also noted that Treasury will publish an updated National Strategy to Combat Illicit Finance, which will highlight planned Treasury efforts to continue to combat the virtual currency misuse. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned entities in the U.S. are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” OFAC noted that U.S. persons are prohibited from participating in transactions with the sanctioned persons, which includes “the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from any such person.”

    Additionally, OFAC issued several Russia-related general licenses: (i) General License 8B authorizes certain “transactions related to energy” through June 24; (ii) General License 9B authorizes “transactions related to dealings in certain debt or equity”; (iii) General License 10B authorizes “certain transactions related to derivative contract”; (iv) General License 21 authorizes “the wind down of Sberbank CIB USA, Inc”; (v) General License 22 authorizes “the wind down of transactions involving public joint stock company Sberbank of Russia”; and (vi) General License 23 authorizes the wind down of transactions involving joint stock company Alfa-Bank.”

    Find continuing InfoBytes coverage on the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine here.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Of Interest to Non-US Persons OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations Russia Ukraine Ukraine Invasion Biden

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  • OFAC sanctions Russian technology companies

    Financial Crimes

    On March 31, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced several new sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new sanctions, issued pursuant to Executive Order 14024, target 21 entities and 13 individuals connected to the Russian Federation “as part of its crackdown on the Kremlin’s sanctions evasion networks and technology companies.” Additionally, OFAC has determined that three additional sectors of the Russian Federation’s economy are subject to sanctions, which permits OFAC to impose sanctions on any individual or entity determined to operate or have operated in any of those sectors. According to OFAC, one of the sanctioned entities is a technology company that exports over 50 percent of Russian microelectronics and is Russia’s largest chipmaker. This action follows OFAC’s March 24 designation of dozens of companies in Russia’s defense-industrial base that are directly involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (covered by InfoBytes here). OFAC also expanded sanctions authorities to include the Russian aerospace, marine, and electronics sector. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned persons that are in the U.S. or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, and “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more” by the targeted persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any dealings involving the property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons and entities, unless exempt or authorized by a general or specific OFAC license.

    Financial Crimes SDN List OFAC Department of Treasury Of Interest to Non-US Persons Russia Ukraine Ukraine Invasion OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations

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