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  • OFAC issues Notification of Blocked Property to sanctioned Russian oligarch’s trust

    Financial Crimes

    On June 30, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a Notification of Blocked Property to a Delaware-based trust in which an OFAC-designated Russian oligarch holds a property interest. As previously covered by InfoBytes, in April 2018, OFAC sanctioned seven Russian oligarchs, including the Russian oligarch who holds a property interest, along with 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its Russian bank subsidiary pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) and Executive Orders 1366113662, and 13582. According to OFAC, the trust holds assets valued at over $1 billion; therefore, this enforcement action ensures that those assets continue to be blocked and inaccessible to the OFAC-designated Russian oligarch. As a result of the Notification of Blocked Property, the trust is subject to the same prohibitions applicable to the OFAC-designated Russian oligarch. All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the U.S. involving any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited, unless exempt or authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC. These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

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

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  • OFAC updates CAATSA FAQs

    Financial Crimes

    On January 5, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the publication of two new FAQs related to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). FAQ 869 states that entities owned 50 percent or more by a person subject to the non-blocking menu-based sanctions in Section 235(a) of CAATSA are not subject to the same non-blocking sanctions. FAQ 870 details the prohibitions of the loan and credit-related sanction described in Section 235(a)(3) of CAATSA. Additionally, OFAC amended FAQ 545 and 546.

    Find continuing InfoBytes covered on CAATSA-related sanctions here.

    Financial Crimes OFAC CAATSA Of Interest to Non-US Persons Sanctions OFAC Designations

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  • Treasury issues national illicit finance strategy

    Financial Crimes

    On December 20, the U.S. Treasury Department issued the National Strategy for Combating Terrorist and Other Illicit Financing (the National Illicit Finance Strategy). Pursuant to Sections 261 and 262 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA), the National Illicit Finance Strategy describes current U.S. government efforts to combat domestic and international illicit finance threats in the areas of terrorist financing, proliferation financing, and money laundering, and discusses potential risks, priorities and objectives, as well as areas for improvement. The document addresses the strengths of U.S. counter-illicit finance efforts, including the legal and regulatory framework, as well as efforts undertaken to improve the effectiveness of national safeguards currently in place due to changes in technology and emerging threats. Recent efforts include a working group formed earlier in December to explore ways to modernize the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering regulatory regime and encourage banks and credit unions to explore innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence, digital identity technologies, and internal financial intelligence units to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial threats when safeguarding the financial system (see previous InfoBytes coverage here).

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury CAATSA Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering

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  • President Trump issues Executive Order delegating sanctions implementation authority; OFAC issues new CAATSA - Russia-related FAQ

    Financial Crimes

    On September 20, President Trump announced the issuance of Executive Order 13849 (E.O. 13849), “Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),” pursuant to national emergencies previously declared in Executive Orders 13660, 13694, and 13757. E.O. 13849 grants authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to take certain actions to implement the sanctions against identified persons, including the promulgation of regulations. Among other things, E.O. 13849 prohibits: (i) any U.S. financial institution from making loans or extending credits to sanctioned persons “totaling more than $10,000,000 in any 12-month period, unless the person is engaged in activities to relieve human suffering and the loans or credits are provided for such activities”; (ii) any foreign exchange transactions, subject to U.S. jurisdiction, in which the sanctioned person has any interest; and (iii) transfers of credit or payments between, by, or through financial institutions for the benefit of a sanctioned person subject to U.S. jurisdiction. E.O. 13849 further describes the actions that can be taken to implement the sanctions.

    In response to E.O. 13849, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published a new CAATSA - Russia-related FAQ providing additional clarifying information.

    Find continuing InfoBytes covered on CAATSA-related sanctions here.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC CAATSA Russia Executive Order

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  • Departments of Treasury, State, and Homeland Security issue joint advisory warning businesses of North Korean sanctions evasion tactics

    Financial Crimes

    On July 23, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in conjunction with the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, issued an advisory to warn businesses—including manufacturers, buyers, and service providers—of the potential risks that may result from sanctions evasion tactics used by North Korea across supply chains. The advisory also provides assistance for businesses complying with Title III of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 with respect to North Korean sanctions. According to the advisory, the U.S. government “is focusing its disruption efforts on North Korean citizens or nationals whose labor generates revenue for the North Korean government.” Specifically, the advisory warns businesses to examine their entire supply chains and adopt appropriate, well-documented due diligence best practices, which “may be considered mitigating factors when the U.S. government determines the appropriate enforcement response.” The advisory also outlines penalties for violations of sanctions and enforcement actions.

    See here for previous InfoBytes coverage on North Korea sanctions.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury Department of State Department of Homeland Security Sanctions CAATSA North Korea OFAC

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  • OFAC sanctions Russian entities and individuals for cyber activities connected to FSB

    Financial Crimes

    On June 11, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced its decision to sanction five Russian entities and three Russian individuals connected to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), pursuant to Section 244 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) and Executive Order 13694. The sanctions target individuals and entities who, through “malign and destabilizing cyber activities,” have provided material and technological support to the FSB. Pursuant to OFAC’s sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are “generally prohibited” from participating in transactions with these individuals and entities. As part of the announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that “The United States is committed to aggressively targeting any entity or individual working at the direction of the FSB whose work threatens the United States and will continue to utilize our sanctions authorities, including those provided under CAATSA, to counter the constantly evolving threats emanating from Russia.”

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Russian sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Russia Sanctions International CAATSA

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  • Treasury issues general license to extend wind-down period for sanctioned Russian aluminum producer

    Financial Crimes

    On April 23, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License 14 (GL 14) to extend the grace period for specified wind-down activities involving a Russian aluminum producer sanctioned earlier this month. As previously covered in InfoBytes here, the April 6 sanctions—issued pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017—allowed U.S. persons until May 7 to wind down operations involving identified blocked persons. According to Treasury’s press release, GL 14’s new October 23 deadline provides Treasury time to consider the aluminum producer’s petition for delisting given the impact the April 6 sanctions have had on U.S. partners and allies. Additionally, Treasury stated that “OFAC will not impose secondary sanctions on non-U.S. persons for engaging in the same activity involving [the aluminum producer] or its subsidiaries that General License 14 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in.”

    The same day, OFAC also issued an amended General License 12A to reflect the authorization in GL 14, and released several new FAQs addressing authorizations and limitations under GL 14.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Ukraine/Russian sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Sanctions Russia Ukraine CAATSA

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  • OFAC sanctions Russian oligarchs and government officials; releases new general licenses and updated FAQs

    Financial Crimes

    On April 6, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced its decision to sanction seven Russian oligarchs along with 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its Russian bank subsidiary, pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) and Executive Orders 13661, 13662, and 13582. In a foreign policy statement released the same day, President Trump explained that the identified persons placed on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) and Blocked Persons List engaged in actions that have reportedly contributed to “advancing Russia’s malign activities,” including (i) profiting from “Russia's destabilizing activities”; (ii) election meddling; (iii) undermining U.S. cybersecurity; (iv) engaging in weapons proliferation; (v) continuing to occupy Crimea; (vi) instigating violence in eastern Ukraine; and (vii) providing military equipment and support for the Government of Syria's continued attacks against Syrian citizens. Pursuant to OFAC’s sanctions, all property or interests in property of the designated persons along with any other entity owned 50 percent or more by one or more designated persons that is within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are “generally prohibited” from participating in transactions with these individuals and entities. Additionally, “non-U.S. persons could face sanctions for knowingly facilitating significant transactions for or on behalf of the individuals or entities blocked today.”

    The same day, OFAC issued two Ukraine-/Russia-related general licenses to “minimize immediate disruptions to U.S. persons, partners, and allies.” General License 12 authorizes through June 5 certain activities necessary to “wind down” operations, contracts, or agreements in effect prior to April 6 involving specified blocked persons. General License 13 authorizes through May 7 divestiture transactions with certain blocked persons to a non-U.S. person, as well as the facilitation of transfers of debt, equity, or other holdings involving listed blocked persons by a non-U.S. person to another non-U.S. person. OFAC also released eight new FAQs related to this action and published one updated FAQ related to CAATSA.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Ukraine/Russian sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Sanctions CAATSA Russia Ukraine Trump

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  • OFAC expands Russian sanctions in connection with election interference and cyber attacks

    Financial Crimes

    On March 15, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced its decision to sanction an additional five entities and 19 individuals, pursuant to Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) and Executive Order 13694 (E.O. 13694). The CAATSA sanctions target “cyber actors” who carried out cyber attacks on behalf of the Russian government, while E.O. 13694 designations target entities and individuals who interfered with the 2016 U.S. election. Pursuant to OFAC’s sanctions, all property or interests in property of the designated persons within U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are “generally prohibited” from participating in transactions with these individuals and entities. As part of the announcement, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that “Treasury intends to impose additional CAATSA sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system.”

    The same day, OFAC amended General License No. 1, “Authorizing Certain Transactions with the Federal Security Service” and reissued it as “Cyber General License No. 1A” (GL 1A). OFAC also published four updated FAQs relating to the agency’s sanctions and GL 1A and CAATSA.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Russian sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Sanctions International Department of Treasury CAATSA Russia

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  • OFAC reissues North Korean Sanctions Regulations

    Financial Crimes

    On March 1, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a final rule in the Federal Register to amend and reissue the North Korea Sanctions Regulations in their entirety. The final rule implements Executive Orders 13687, 13722, and 13810, references the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, and provides the Treasury Secretary, “in consultation with the Secretary of State, additional tools to disrupt North Korea’s ability to fund its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.” All property and interests in property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea are blocked, transactions by U.S. persons involving the sanctioned entities are generally prohibited, and “all transactions within the United States, including all financial transactions that transit the U.S. financial system, must comply with OFAC regulations.” Among other things, the final rule (i) incorporates several general licenses previously only available on OFAC’s North Korea Sanctions page; (ii) adds several new general licenses; (iii) adds and expands provisions to provide the public with a more comprehensive set of regulations; (iv) updates certain regulatory provisions; and (v) makes other technical and conforming changes. The final rule takes effect March 5, 2018. Also released the same day were updates to OFAC’s North Korea-related FAQs.

    See here for previous InfoBytes coverage on North Korean sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Sanctions International Department of Treasury CAATSA

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