On 12 August 2016 the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee removed the Iraqi Oil Tanker Company and the State Oil Marketing Organisation from the UN Iraq list. The EU has just implemented those de-listings, amending Council Regulation 1210/2003 by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2016/1398 with effect from 21 August 2016. HM Treasury’s notice is here. The amending regulation is in the Official Journal here.
On 1 July 2016, OFAC issued an “interim final rule” increasing the maximum penalties for breach of US sanctions for inflation, with effect from 1 August 2016. The increases are:
-from $65,000 to $83,864 for the Cuba sanctions regime;
– from $1,075,000 to $1,414,020 under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act;
– from $250,000 to $284,582 for violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (most other regimes).
OFAC increased the maximum civil penalty from $50,000 to $75,122 for breach of the requirement that financial institutions freeze funds of foreign terrorist organisations, and from $10,000 to $12,856 for violating the law implementing the Kimberley process for rough diamonds. Details are on the Federal Register here.
The US Bureau of Industry and Security has extended its temporary general licence for exports, reexports, and in-country transfers to Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE) until 28 November 2016. The US imposed export restrictions on ZTE in March, in response to ZTE allegedly breaching US sanctions by illicitly re-exporting controlled items to sanctioned countries, and organising a series of shell companies for this purpose in relation to Iran (see previous blog). BIS has indicated that it will continue to renew the temporary general licence provided ZTE continues to cooperate with the US government in resolving the issues that led to the violations.
The Department of Commerce’s notice is here.
OFAC has removed the Philippines and Indonesia branch offices of the International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIROSA) from its SDN List, where they were listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The branches were listed by OFAC in 2006 for facilitating fundraising for al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups. IIROSA is a defendant in the civil 9/11 litigation in the Southern District of New York. The court had ruled that a substantial basis for IIROSA remaining in the litigation was the designations of the Philippines and Indonesia branch offices. Details of the de-listings are here.
The US State Department has suggested that Russia’s use of Iranian military airbases to launch strikes in Syria could violate UN sanctions on Iran which prohibit the supply, sale, and transfer of military aircraft to Iran unless approved by the UN Security Council. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has denied this allegation, saying yesterday that “there has been no supply, sale, or transfer of fighter jets to Iran…The Russian Air Force uses these fighter jets with Iran’s approval”.
OFAC has removed Thamer Al-Shanfari from its SDN List, where he was designated under US sanctions on Zimbabwe. Al-Shanfari was designated in 2008 for allegedly having close ties to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his top officials, and for using his company Oryx Natural Resources to enable them to access and derive personal benefit from various mining ventures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
OFAC has designated 2 Mexican nationals and 2 Mexican companies as Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpins, for their alleged connections to the Sinaloa Cartel. Juan Manuel Alvarez Inzunza and Jose Olivas Chaidez are said to have materially assisted or supported the Sinaloa Cartel and/or high-ranking Cartel members, including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia. The 2 companies, Nueva Atunera Triton and Operadora Eficaz Pegaso, are owned or controlled by Alvarez Inzunza, who OFAC says is involved in money laundering.
In the US Treasury’s press release, Acting Director of OFAC John Smith said that “This action builds on our continued effort to disrupt Mexican drug cartels by targeting the money launderers who provide support to organisations such as the Sinaloa Cartel”.