UK TREASURY PUBLISHES A CLEAR NOTICE ON THE DE-LISTING OF QUALITEST FZE

The General Court of the European Union annulled Qualitest FZE’s designation in the EU’s sanctions against Iranian proliferation (in Council Regulation 267/2012) on 26 January 2013 (link to the judgment here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2013:026:0043:0043:EN:PDF).

HM Treasury in the United Kingdom has now published a notice making it clear that Qualitest is no longer subject to the EU asset freeze because the General Court’s judgment annulling Qualitest’s designation has now come into force.  The Council has not removed Qualitest from the relevant annex to the EU Regulation.

A link to HM Treasury’s Financial Sanctions notice is here: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/fin_sanc_notice_iran_nuclear_290413.pdf

ADDITIONS TO UN AND EU SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA

On 23 April 2013 the EU extended sanctions against North Korea to include three individuals and two companies alleged to be providing support to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 370/2013).

This EU action reflects a decision made by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on 7 March 2013.

EU LIFTS SANCTIONS ON BURMA / MYANMAR

The European Union has just announced that it is lifting its sanctions on Burma/Myanmar.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Burma since 1991, in the form of an arms embargo and visa ban on senior members of the State Law and Order Restoration Council and senior members of the military and the security forces and their families.  They were subsequently extended to prohibit giving assistance to military activities, exporting equipment that might be used for internal repression, financing certain Burmese state-owned enterprises, and to freeze the assets and resources of members of the Government of Burma/Myanmar and their associates.  The Council’s assessment of “associates” was the subject of the Tay Za case in the European Court of Justice (Case C-376/10 P).

 Sanctions were suspended for a year in May 2012 in order to “welcome and encourage” the “reform process” and “historic changes in Burma / Myanmar”. They have now been lifted altogether “in response to the changes that have taken place and in the expectation that they will continue”.  The arms embargo is still in force.

BANK MELLAT AND BANK SADERAT CASES FIGHT ON…

The European Council has lodged appeals against the General Court’s judgments in the Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat cases see earlier blogs on the Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat judgments

These join a long list of appeals to the European Court of Justice against General Court (i.e. first instance)  judgments finding in favour of Iranian companies (including Fulmen).

Bank Mellat has also brought a second action for annulment in the General Court, this time challenging the prohibition on banking transactions between European and Iranan banks in 1263/2012 of 21 December 2012.

Bank Mellat awaits judgment from the United Kingdom Supreme Court on the lawfulness of HM Treasury’s directions under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 precluding anyone operating in the financial sector in the United Kingdom from having any business dealings with it.

EUROPEAN UNION AMENDS SYRIA SANCTIONS TO ASSIST CIVILIAN AID AND RESTRICT FLIGHTS

Council Implementing Regulation No 325/2013 of 10 April 2013 amends the EU’s sanctions on Syria in Council Regulation (EU) No 36/2012, with effect from 12 April 2013.

The new Regulation amends the prohibitions on the sale, supply, transfer or export of equipment that might be used for internal repression in Syria if Member States determine that equipment is intended for humanitarian or protective use or for institution building programmes of the UN or EU, or for EU or UN crisis management operations, or in the case of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces such equipment is non-lethal and is intended for the protection of civilians.

There are new restrictions on flights from Syria to the EU for cargo flights operated by Syrian carriers and Syrian Arab Airlines, unless the aircraft is engaged in non-scheduled international air services and landing is for non-traffic and non-commercial purposes, or the aircraft is engaged in scheduled international air services and landing is for non-traffic purposes.  The Regulation no longer prevent acts or transactions with respect to Syrian Arab Airlines for the sole purpose of evacuating citizens of the Union and their family members from Syria.

A new Article 3a prohibits the provision of financial assistance relating to goods and technology to those listed in the Common Military List, and there are new exemptions to the asset freeze in for payments due under judicial, administrative, or arbitral decisions rendered in a Member State.

EU IMPOSES AUTONOMOUS SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA

The EU has implemented the United Nations’ sanction against the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea since 2010.  It has just imposed new “autonomous” EU sanctions, which go beyond the UN sanctions, in Decision 2013/88/CFSP of 18 February 2013, now implemented by Council Regulation (EU) No 296/2013 (which amends Council Regulation (EC) 329/2007), with effect from 29 March 2013.

These extended sanctions permit the EU to freeze the assets of people and entities involved in (including through the provision of financial services) the supply to or from North Korea of arms and related material or other goods that could contribute to North Korea’s nuclear programme.

The sale, supply or transfer to North Korea of other goods “relevant to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction related programmes” is prohibited (including steel alloys, carbon-carbon composites, nickel alloys, titanium alloys and various aluminium materials). There are new prohibitions on the sale, export or purchase of gold, precious metals and diamonds to or for North Korea, on newly printed or unissued North Korean denominated banknotes and minted coinage, on public-guaranteed bonds, and North Korean banks now may not open branches, subsidiaries or offices in EU Member States, or establish joint ventures or ownership of North Korean banks with EU banks.

EVIDENCE ON SANCTIONS TO GOVERNMENT’S BALANCE OF COMPETENCE REVIEW

I was asked to submit evidence on the balance of competence between the European Union and United Kingdom as regards the imposition and enforcement of sanctions.  All comments and thoughts warmly welcomed. To view the piece please click on the link below:
Evidence to balance of competence review.