EU CHANGES TO TERRORIST SANCTIONS LISTINGS

The European Union has renewed its counterterrorist sanctions against 10 people and 23 entities, and removed 2 other entities. Listed parties are subject to an EU-wide asset freeze.

The two entities that have been deleted are:

  1. Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra
  2. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development

These changes are set out in Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/513 implementing Council Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/521 updating Common Position 2001/931/CFSP and repealing Council Decision 2014/483/CFSP.

SCHLUMBERGER AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO VIOLATING US SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN AND SUDAN

Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil-field services company, has agreed to plead guilty and pay a penalty of $232,708,356 for violating US sanctions by facilitating trade with Iran and Sudan.  Under the plea agreement, Schlumberger Oil Holdings Ltd (SOHL), the subsidiary responsible for the violations, will also be subject to a 3-year period of corporate probation during which time it will have to maintain its cessation of operations in Iran and Sudan.  In addition, its parent company will be required to hire an independent consultant to review its sanctions policies and compliance procedures.

The US Department of Justice stated that from around early 2004 until June 2010, Schlumberger provided oilfield services to customers in Iran and Sudan through non-US subsidiaries.  Further, Schlumberger employees approved and disguised requests from Iran and Sudan for the manufacture of new oilfield drilling tools and the spending of money for certain company purchases.  It facilitated trade with Iran and Sudan from offices in Sugar Land, Texas.

Speaking on 25 March 2015, US Assistant Attorney General Carlin said that “Over a period of years, Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd conducted business with Iran and Sudan from the United States and took steps to disguise those business dealings, thereby wilfully violating the US economic sanctions against those regimes”.  US Attorney Machen added that “Even if you don’t directly ship goods from the United States to sanctioned countries, you violate our laws when you facilitate trade with those countries from a US-based office building”

The penalty against SOHL comprises $77,569,452 criminal forfeiture, and a criminal fine of $155,138,904, the largest ever levied in connection with an IEEPA prosecution.

PAYPAL AGREES $7.6m SETTLEMENT WITH OFAC FOR SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS

Yesterday, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a settlement agreement with PayPal totalling $7,658,300, in settlement of PayPal’s potential civil liability for 486 apparent sanctions violations.

The US Treasury announced that for several years up to and including 2013, “PayPal failed to employ adequate screening technology and procedures to identify the potential involvement of US sanctions targets in transactions” that it processed.  Additionally, between 20 October 2009 and 1 April 2013 “PayPal processed 136 transactions totalling $7,091.77 to or from a PayPal account registered to an individual on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons”.

The US Treasury explained that PayPal’s automated interdiction filter was not effectively identifying account holders as potential matches to OFAC’s SDN List and, even when it did, PayPal agents dismissed alerts on six separate occasions after failing to obtain or review documentation corroborating the identity of the individual.

US TREASURY SANCTIONS ASSOCIATES OF NARCOTICS TRAFFICKER

The US Treasury announced yesterday that it has designated 4 people and 5 entities said to be associated with the criminal organisation led by narcotics trafficker Naser Kelmendi as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers.  The designations are made pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They are:

  1. Elvis Kelmendi
  2. Besnik Kelmendi
  3. Liridon Kelmendi
  4. Donata Kelmendi

The entities listed are:

  1. Predstavnistvo Casagrande Export-Import
  2. Donata Company D.O.O.
  3. Hotel Casa Grande (Montenegro)
  4. Hotel Casa Grande (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  5. N.P.T.T. Dona-Shell

The entries for Naser Kelmendi were also amended.

Naser Kelmendi was arrested on 6 May 2013 pursuant to an international arrest warrant, and was indicted by the Special Prosecution Office of the Republic of Kosovo on 4 July 2014 on charges of murder and narcotics trafficking.

US TREASURY REMOVES 45 ENTITIES AND PEOPLE FROM CUBA SANCTIONS LIST

On 24 March 2015, the US Treasury removed 45 people and entities from its list of Specially Designated Nationals on its Cuba sanctions. Listed people and entities have all of their assets in US jurisdiction frozen and there is a prohibition on engaging in transactions with them.

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that the delistings were intended to remove “out-of-date” names from its list: “While these removals are not related to the recent changes to our Cuba sanctions program and rather reflect OFAC’s consistent effort to review and update its SDN list, these delistings are in line with the President’s Cuba policy” (see previous blog).  Many of the entries removed were for people who had died, defunct companies, or sunken ships.

EU IMPLEMENTS UN UPDATES TO AL-QAEDA SANCTIONS LIST

On 21 March 2015, the EU added 3 people and 1 entity to its sanctions against Al-Qaida, removed 4 individuals, and amended the entry for 1 other.  This is to reflect changes made by the United Nations Security Council on 19 February, 13 March, and 16 March 2015.  Listed individuals and entities are subject to an EU-wide asset freeze.

The additions to the list are:

  1. Angga Dimas Pershada
  2. Bambang Sukirno
  3. Wiji Joko Santoso
  4. Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia

The removals from the list are:

  1. Mustafa Mohamed Fadhil
  2. Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali
  3. Said Ali Al-Shihri
  4. Hakimullah Mehsud

The entry for Khalifa Muhammad Turki Al-Subaiy is amended to record 2 additional aliases.

The updates are brought into force by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/480 amending Council Regulation (EC) 881/2002.

EU EXTENDS SANCTIONS IN VIEW OF THE SITUATION IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

On 21 March 2015, the EU Council extended its restrictive measures in view of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina until 31 March 2016.  Under the measures, listed individuals and entities are subject to an EU-wide asset freeze and travel ban.

The current EU sanctions against Bosnia and Herzegovina were first introduced in March 2011 to target those who undermine the sovereignty of the country, seriously threaten its security situation, or undermine the Dayton/Paris General Framework Agreement for Peace.

The extension is brought into force by Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/487 amending Council Decision 2011/173/CFSP.

EU EXTENDS SANCTIONS IN VIEW OF THE SITUATION IN EGYPT

On 21 March 2015, the EU Council extended its restrictive measures in view of the situation in Egypt until 22 March 2016.  Under the measures, listed individuals and entities are subject to an EU-wide asset freeze.

The current EU sanctions were introduced in March 2011, following the EU’s announcement of its support for Egypt’s transition to a civilian and democratic government, and target those allegedly responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian state assets.

The extension is brought into force by Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/486 amending Council Decision 2011/172/CFSP.