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On January 15, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued regulations implementing Executive Order (E.O.) 13936 issued last July. As previously covered by InfoBytes, E.O. 13936, among other things, targets and authorizes the imposition of sanctions on persons who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support to activities contributing to the undermining of Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy. The regulations outline prohibitions, including prohibited transactions, and provide general definitions, interpretations, licensing authorizations, and penalties and findings of violations. OFAC noted it intends to supplement Part 585 of the regulations with more comprehensive regulations that “may include additional interpretive and definitional guidance and additional general licenses and statements of licensing policy.”
The same day, OFAC also added several individuals and entities to its Specially Designated Nationals List. These persons have been added pursuant to OFAC’s Hong Kong-related designations, Global Magnitsky designations, E.O. 13846, and the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act, among others.
On December 7, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added 14 Chinese citizens to the Specially Designated Nationals List. The individuals were designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13936, which was issued by President Trump in July and, among other things, targets and authorizes the imposition of sanctions on persons who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support to activities contributing to the undermining of Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy. Additionally, E.O. 13936 states that “[a]ll property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, . . .are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in” with any foreign person identified to have engaged in the aforementioned activities.
On December 11, the U.S. Treasury Department released a report submitted to Congress pursuant to Section 5(b) of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (the Act), which was enacted on July 14. The Act requires that the Secretary of State submit to Congress a report (Section 5(a) Report) that includes (i) “an identification of the foreign person”; and (ii) “a clear explanation for why the foreign person was identified and a description of the activity that resulted in the identification.” The Secretary submitted the Section 5(a) Report on October 14, which identified 11 foreign persons that OFAC designated pursuant to Executive Order 13936 on August 7. The Act requires Treasury to submit the Section 5(b) report between 30 and 60 days of the Section 5(a) submission, detailing any foreign financial institution (FFI) that knowingly conducts a significant transaction with a foreign person identified by the Secretary in the Section 5(a) Report. The 5(b) Report notes that Treasury has no information on any FFIs that have conducted significant transactions with the designated foreign persons, after conducting “regular searches of all available sources of information, including classified and unclassified holdings.” Treasury notes that it will continue to monitor for new activity that meets the criteria and engage with foreign governments and FFIs to ensure they “they understand the reporting requirements and sanctions risks under the [the Act].”
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