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  • OFAC sanctions Russians connected to human rights violations and Belarusian leader engaged in corruption

    Financial Crimes

    On March 15, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to the Russia Magnitsky Act against four individuals and one entity. According to OFAC, the sanctioned individuals and entity were involved in concealing events surrounding the death of renowned Russian whistleblower, Sergei Magnitsky, or were connected to gross violations of human rights against a Russian human rights defender. OFAC also re-designated, pursuant to Executive Order 13405, the head of a corrupt government in Belarus who used his authorities to benefit his inner circle and regime, and newly designated his wife for being a senior level official engaged in public corruption.

    As previously covered by InfoBytes, President Biden issued E.O 13405, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Belarus,” which expanded the scope addressing 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.” As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned entities subject to U.S. jurisdiction 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 these 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.”

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC Biden SDN List Of Interest to Non-US Persons Russia Belarus

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  • OFAC sanctions Belarusians for supporting Russian invasion of Ukraine

    Financial Crimes

    On February 24, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against 24 Belarusian individuals and entities due to Belarus’s support for, and facilitation of, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions focus on Belarus’s defense sector and financial institutions, which have close ties to Russia. OFAC stressed that the “Belarusian economy is highly dependent on key Russian financial institutions and their subsidiaries” and that restrictions imposed against the Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia, VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, and State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank, combined with the new measures taken against Belarusian banks “target nearly one-fifth of the country’s entire financial sector.” Specifically, OFAC designated two significant state-owned banks that directly or indirectly finance or conduct activity on behalf of the Government of Belarus (GoB). “Sanctioning these two GoB-owned banks, in addition to Russia-related restrictions imposed on three other systemically important Belarusian financial institutions, means that a significant portion of the Belarusian financial sector is now subject to U.S. sanctions,” OFAC stated. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned individuals and entities 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, 50 percent or more” by the blocked persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any dealings involving the property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons, unless exempt or authorized by a general or specific OFAC license. 

    In conjunction with the sanctions, OFAC issued numerous related directives and general licenses that provide for multiple exceptions, along with several new and updated frequently asked questions. A Buckley Special Alert provides additional details related to the evolving nature of the U.S. sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

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  • OFAC published FAQs on Belarus, Ukraine-/Russia-related, and Venezuela-related sanctions programs

    Financial Crimes

    On January 7, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published a new FAQ 956 regarding Belarus, Ukraine-/Russia-related, and Venezuela-related sanctions programs, which prohibit U.S. persons from dealing in certain new debts (such as bonds, loans, drafts, loan guarantees, or letters of credit) of certain identified persons in these countries. The FAQ provides additional guidance on how OFAC views modifications to pre-existing loans, contracts, or other agreements to replace LIBOR as the reference rate. According to the FAQ, “[l]oans, contracts, or other agreements that use LIBOR as a reference rate that are modified to replace such benchmark reference rate will not be treated as new debt for OFAC sanctions purposes, so long as no other material terms of the loan, contract, or agreement are modified.”

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

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

    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.

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

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  • Biden’s executive order addresses Belarus

    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.

     

     

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

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  • OFAC sanctions persons connected to human rights abuses

    Financial Crimes

    On June 21, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13405 against 16 individuals and five entities for allegedly facilitating and perpetrating “the Lukashenka regime’s continued assault against peaceful protesters, journalists, members of the opposition, and civil society.” One of the individuals is also being sanctioned for “having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of,” the designated Lukashenka regime. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned persons, and “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more” by the blocked persons that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked. OFAC notes that its regulations generally prohibit U.S. persons from participating in transactions with the designated persons, which include “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.”

    The same day, OFAC also issued Belarus General License (GL) 3 and related FAQs 912 and 913. Specifically, GL 3 authorizes limited transactions and activities involving the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus that are necessary and ordinarily incident to “requesting, receiving, utilizing, paying for, or dealing in” certain licenses and authorizations for the importation, distribution, or use of certain information technology products in Belarus, and is intended to ensure that U.S. persons that engage in certain business activities that are not otherwise prohibited are not unduly impacted.

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

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  • OFAC issues Belarus-related General License 2H

    Financial Crimes

    On April 19, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License No. 2H (GL 2H) to authorize a “45-day wind down period” for nine Belarusian entities to enter into certain transactions. GL 2H replaces and supersedes in its entirety General License No. 2G and authorizes all transactions with any entities that are owned by 50 percent or more by the nine named entities. All property and interests in property of these entities, if blocked, remain blocked, and U.S. persons must report authorized transactions or any series of transactions exceeding $50,000 to the U.S. Department of State no later than 30 days after execution. The authorization expires on June 3.

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

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  • OFAC issues Belarus-related General License 2E

    Financial Crimes

    On April 27, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License No. 2E (GL 2E) to extend the authorization allowing nine Belarusian entities to enter into transactions otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13405. GL 2E replaces and supersedes in its entirety General License No. 2D, and authorizes transactions with any entities that are owned 50 percent or more by the nine named entities. All property and interests in property of these entities, if blocked, remain blocked, and U.S. persons must report authorized transactions or any series of transactions exceeding $50,000 to the U.S. Department of State no later than 30 days after execution. The authorization expires on October 30, unless otherwise extended or revoked.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Belarus General Licenses.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Department of State International Belarus Executive Order

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  • OFAC Authorizes Belarus-Related General License

    Federal Issues

    On October 18, OFAC granted General License No. 2B renewing the authorization regarding nine Belarusian entities to enter into transactions otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13405. General License No. 2B replaces and supersedes in its entirety General License No. 2A, which was set to expire later this month, and authorizes transactions with any entities that are owned 50 percent or more by the nine named entities. All property and interests in property of these entities, if blocked, remain blocked. U.S. persons must report authorized transactions or any series of transactions exceeding $50,000 to the U.S. Department of State no later than 30 days after execution. The authorization expires on April 30, 2017, unless otherwise extended or revoked.

    Federal Issues International OFAC Department of State Belarus Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Executive Order

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  • FinCEN Withdraws Findings and Proposed Rulemakings

    Consumer Finance

    On February 19, FinCEN withdrew three findings and proposed rulemakings under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. FinCEN determined that the three entities subject to the proposed rulemakings “no longer pose a money laundering threat to the U.S. financial system.” FinCEN withdrew its findings and proposed rulemakings against (i) a Costa Rica-based financial institution; (ii) a Belarus-based financial institution; and (iii) an Andorra-based financial institution. Regarding the Costa Rica-based institution, FinCEN noted that the DOJ “seized [its] accounts and Internet domain names and charged seven of its principals and employees with money laundering;” the institution stopped functioning after such actions were taken. According to FinCEN, the Belarus-based entity, along with its successor, no longer operates as a foreign financial institution and does not operate in a way that poses a threat to the U.S. financial system. Finally, concerning the third entity, FinCEN noted that Andorran authorities assumed control of the management and operations of the entity, arrested its chief executive officer on money laundering charges, and “are in the final stages of implementing a resolution plan that is isolating the assets, liabilities, and clients of [the entity] that raise money laundering concerns.”

    Anti-Money Laundering FinCEN DOJ Patriot Act Belarus Costa Rica Andorra Financial Crimes International

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