OFAC adds Burmese military figures & entities to Global Magnitsky sanctions list

US Treasury Building.jpgToday, OFAC has sanctioned 4 Burmese military and Border Guard Police commanders and 2 Burmese military units for their involvement in “ethnic cleansing in Burma’s Rakhine State and other widespread human rights abuses in Burma’s Kachin and Shan States”.

Burmese military commanders Aung Kyaw Zaw, Khin Maung Soe, Khin Hlaing, and Border Guard Police commander Thura San Lwin, along with the 33rd Light Infantry Division of the Burmese Army and the 99th Light Infantry Division of the Burmese Army, were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818 (Global Magnitsky). As a result, all the listed persons are now subject to a US asset freeze and, where applicable, a US travel ban. See OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, Khin Maung Soe and Thura San Lwin are also subject to sanctions in the EU and Canada.

OFAC sanctions 4 facilitators of illicit shipments on behalf of N Korea

OFAC2Yesterday, OFAC sanctioned Russian national Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov and 3 entities pursuant to Executive Order 13810 for “facilitating illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea”.

The 3 entities: China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co Ltd; its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte Ltd; and Russia-based Profinet Pte Ltd (Mr Kolchanov is the Director General of Profinet). As a result, all the listed persons are now subject to a US asset freeze, as well as a US travel ban in the case of Mr Kolchanov. See OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

DC Circuit dismisses Fares due process appeals

District of Columbia Court of Appeals.jpgThe US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has dismissed the appeals of Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares, Mohamed Abdo Waked Darwich (Mr Fares’ son), and Grupo Wisa SA (Mr Fares’ company), all of whom claimed that their designations in May 2016 as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (under the US Kingpin Act) had violated their due process rights because OFAC had not disclosed all the underlying evidence against them.

The appeal court upheld the lower court judgment that OFAC had satisfied due process requirements by serving the appellants with two unclassified summaries (rather than disclosing evidence containing evidence that OFAC said would compromise ongoing criminal investigations). The court said the appellants’ submission that OFAC had to choose between disclosing all the evidence and delisting them presented “no tenable claim” and ran “counter to precedent”. See judgment here.

Russia’s En+ OFAC plan

ENn+.pngEn+ Group has presented its proposal to OFAC to release it from the US sanctions which were imposed on 6 April 2018.

Oleg Deripaska has agreed to reduce his current stake in En+ Group to below 45% (currently around 66%), principally through the transfer of shares to Russian bank VTB. VTB will sell the shares into the market, but during the period it has control of those shares, their voting rights will be controlled by two US citizens appointed by En+ Group. OFAC has yet to decide on whether to approve the plan.

EU implements UN arms embargo on South Sudan

EU4On 13 July 2018, the UN Security Council adopted UNSC Resolution 2428 (2018), which (inter alia) imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan until 31 May 2019 and designated two “high-ranking” individuals (Malek Reuben Riak Rengu and Paul Malong Awan) for targeted measures (previous blog).

Earlier this week (13 August), the EU implemented those UN sanctions on South Sudan. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1125, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1115, Council Regulation (EU) 2018/1116 and EU press release.

UN & US terrorist designations

Terrorist.jpgLast week (9 August), the UN Security Council added Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list. He will now be subject to a UN asset freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. See UN press release and narrative summary for listing. The EU implemented this UN listing yesterday, see Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1138. UK OFSI Notice here.

Earlier this week (13 August), the US State Department designated Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224 (asset freeze). According to the Department of State press release, “[Mr Ahmed] is an Iran-based leader of al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and SDGT that seeks to overthrow the Bahraini government. [Mr Ahmed] has recruited terrorists in Bahrain, facilitated training on weapons and explosives for AAB members, and supplied AAB members with funding, weapons, and explosives to carry out attacks.” OFAC Notice here.

US sanctions 44 Chinese entities over national security threat

China-US.jpgLast week, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 44 Chinese entities (8 entities and 36 subordinate institutions) to the Entity List for “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”. Some were specifically listed for their involvement in the “illicit procurement of [US-origin] commodities and technologies for unauthorized military end-use in China”.

For all 44 entities, BIS has imposed a licence requirement for all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations, and a licence review policy of presumption of denial. The licence requirements apply to any transaction in which items are to be exported, re-exported or transferred (in-country) to any of the 44 entities or in which such entities act as purchaser, intermediate consignee, ultimate consignee, or end-user. In addition, no licence exceptions will be available for exports, re-exports or transfers (in-country) to the entities. See Final Rule in the US Federal Register (contains the list of the 44 Chinese entities).

Saudi Arabia sanctions Canada over human rights criticism

Canada - Saudi Arabia.jpgLast week (2 August 2018), Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted her support for, and called for the release of, a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights activist, Samar Badawi, who was recently detained by the Gulf state (she has family links in Canada). In response to Ms Freeland’s remarks, Saudi Arabia has:

  • Begun selling its Canadian assets;
  • Expelled the Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak (see Canadian response);
  • Frozen new trade and investment with Canada;
  • Suspended a student exchange programme to Canada;
  • Suspended all flights by state-owned Saudi Arabian Airlines to Canada;
  • Suspended all medical treatment programmes in Canada, and will be transferring all Saudi Arabian patients out of the country.

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that new investment in Canada would continue to be on hold until the crisis had been resolved, but added that existing trade and investment would not be affected.