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  • OFAC announces Hong Kong-related designations

    Financial Crimes

    On March 17, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added several Chinese citizens and Hong Kong nationals to the Specially Designated Nationals List. The individuals were designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13936, which, among other things, authorizes the imposition of sanctions on persons who are determined to be responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong. Under E.O. 13936, “[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 .are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in” with any foreign person identified to have engaged in the aforementioned activities.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations China Hong Kong SDN List

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  • OFAC issues FAQs on sanctioned Chinese military companies

    Financial Crimes

    On March 14, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published FAQs related to two Chinese military companies sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13959, “Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies.” FAQ 880 states that, following a court order preliminarily enjoining the implementation of E.O. 13959 against a previously sanctioned company, the prohibitions are no longer applicable pending further order of the court. FAQ 881 clarifies when prohibitions in E.O. 13959 will take effect with respect to a company that was initially erroneously named, then delisted, and then correctly named.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations China

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  • OFAC amends communist Chinese military companies general license and related FAQs

    Financial Crimes

    On January 27, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License (GL) 1A, “Authorizing Transactions Involving Securities of Certain Communist Chinese Military Companies,” which supersedes and replaces GL 1 (covered by InfoBytes here). GL 1A permits transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 13959 involving “publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any entity whose name closely matches, but does not exactly match, the name of a Communist Chinese Military Companies List as defined by section 4(a) of E.O. 13959, as amended.” OFAC also published related frequently asked questions 878 and 879, the latter of which clarifies that GL 1A does not authorize transactions with subsidiaries of companies on the Communist Chinese Military Companies List.

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

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  • OFAC issues new general license and related FAQs involving Chinese military companies

    Financial Crimes

    On January 14, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License (GL) 2, “Authorizing Securities Exchanges Operated by U.S. Persons to Engage in Transactions Involving Securities of Communist Chinese Military Companies.” This license permits transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 13959 (which was recently amended) involving “publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any entity that is listed on the [OFAC]’s Non-SDN Communist Chinese Military Companies List (NS-CCMC List).” OFAC also published several new frequently asked questions, 871, 872, 873, 874, related to E.O. 13959.

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

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  • OFAC announces several actions related to securities transactions involving Chinese military companies

    Financial Crimes

    On January 8, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License (GL) 1—“Authorizing Transactions Involving Securities of Certain Communist Chinese Military Companies.” This license permits transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 13959 involving “publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of an entity whose name closely matches the name of a Communist Chinese military company identified in the Annex to E.O. 13959” but does not appear on OFAC’s Non-SDN Communist Chinese Military Companies List. Authorization is granted through 9:30 am eastern standard time, January 28. The Non-SDN Communist Chinese Military Companies List was also updated the same day.

    OFAC also recently published several new frequently asked questions related to E.O. 13959. Specifically, FAQ 862 states that U.S. persons are not required “to divest their holdings in publicly traded securities (and securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to, such securities) of the Communist Chinese military companies identified in the Annex to E.O. 13959 by January 11, 2021.” FAQ 863 explains that U.S. persons are permitted to engage in activity related to the following services: “custody, offer for sale, serve as a transfer agent, and trade in covered securities.” Meanwhile, FAQ 864 clarifies that E.O. 13959’s prohibitions apply to “publicly traded securities (or any publicly traded securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to, such securities)” of any entities with names that exactly or closely match the name of an entity identified in the aforementioned annex. Additionally, FAQ 865 clarifies that “[m]arket intermediaries and other participants may engage in ancillary or intermediary activities that are necessary to effect divestiture” from publicly traded securities of Communist Chinese military companies during relevant wind-down periods or that are otherwise not prohibited under E.O, 13959.

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

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  • OFAC issues FAQs on E.O. prohibiting investments supporting Chinese military companies

    Financial Crimes

    On December 28, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published FAQs covering Executive Order (E.O.) 13959, “Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies.” As previously covered by InfoBytes, the E.O. generally prohibits “any transaction in publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any Chinese military company. . .by any US person.” The E.O. establishes the deadlines for divestment of investments in companies currently listed as Chinese military companies as well as companies that later may be added to the list of Chinese military companies pursuant to Section 1237, or those that the Secretary of the Treasury publicly lists as meeting the criteria set forth in Section 1237(b). In addition to the FAQs, OFAC published a list of the entities identified pursuant to the E.O. as Communist Chinese military companies, along with additional identifying information.

    Financial Crimes OFAC China Of Interest to Non-US Persons Sanctions

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  • OFAC sanctions entities supporting the sale of Iranian petrochemicals

    Financial Crimes

    On December 16, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13846 against four entities for facilitating the export of Iranian petrochemical products on behalf of a previously designated petrochemical company. According to OFAC, the designated entities—China- and United Arab Emirates-based companies—have allegedly provided the previously designated company “with critical shipping services or conducted financial transactions on” its behalf, which has enabled the previously designated company to “continue brokering and moving Iranian petrochemical exports.” As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and any “entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by such persons, are also blocked.” OFAC noted that its regulations “generally prohibit” U.S. persons from participating in transactions with the designated persons. OFAC further warned foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitating significant transactions or providing significant support to the designated persons may subject them to sanctions and could sever their access to the U.S. financial system.

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

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  • OFAC announces Hong Kong-related designations

    Financial Crimes

    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.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Sanctions Hong Kong China Of Interest to Non-US Persons OFAC Designations

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  • President Trump issues Executive Order prohibiting securities investments that finance Chinese military companies

    Financial Crimes

    On November 12, President Trump issued an Executive Order (E.O.) on “Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies.” The E.O. generally prohibits “any transaction in publicly traded securities, or any securities that are derivative of, or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any Chinese military company. . .by any US person.” The E.O. establishes the deadlines for divestment of investments in companies currently listed as Chinese military companies as well as companies that later may be added to the list of Chinese military companies pursuant to Section 1237, or those that the Secretary of the Treasury publicly lists as meeting the criteria set forth in Section 1237(b).

    Among other things, the prohibitions apply “except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, order, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to the order, and not withstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of the order.” The E.O. also prohibits any transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States that evade or avoid, have the purpose of evading or avoiding, cause a violation of, or attempt to violate the provisions set forth in the order, as well as any conspiracy to violate any of these prohibitions. Additionally, the Secretary of Treasury—after consulting with heads of other executive departments as deemed appropriate—is authorized to take actions, including promulgating rules and regulations, to carry out the purposes of the E.O.

    Financial Crimes Trump Department of Treasury China Of Interest to Non-US Persons Securities

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  • OFAC sanctions additional persons for human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region

    Financial Crimes

    On July 31, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13818 against a Chinese government entity and two current or former government officials for alleged corruption violations of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. According to OFAC, the sanctioned persons are connected to serious human rights abuse against ethnic monitories, including Uyghurs, in the Xinjiang region. Earlier in July, OFAC sanctioned another Chinese government entity and several current or former government officials for similar corruption violations (covered by InfoBytes here). As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons within U.S. jurisdiction must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC notes that its regulations generally prohibit U.S. persons from participating in transactions with these individuals and entities, 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.”

    Concurrent with the sanctions, OFAC also issued General License No. 2, which authorizes certain wind down and divestment transactions and activities related to blocked subsidiaries of the Chinese entity through September 30.

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

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