Boris Rotenberg claim against Nordic banks in Finland

Helsinki.jpgBoris Rotenberg, who is subject to US Russia sanctions, has brought proceedings at the Helsinki District Court against 4 Nordic banks (Nordea, Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, and OP Bank) for breaching his right to equal treatment as an EU citizen by refusing to make payments on his behalf. The banks are said to have refused banking services to Mr Rotenberg because of US secondary sanctions concerns.

REMINDER: P&P Sanctions Breakfast Seminar – 6 Nov 2018

PrintA reminder that next week, Peters & Peters will be hosting its breakfast seminar on the latest developments in economic sanctions on Tuesday 6 November 2018 – the day after full re-imposition of US secondary sanctions on Iran.

Anna Bradshaw will chair the event in discussion with leading sanctions practitioners including confirmed speakers Maya Lester QC of Brick Court Chambers, Barbara Linney of Miller & Chevalier in Washington DC, and Chloé Cina of Deutsche Bank.

Discussions will focus on the repercussions of US sanctions policy for EU businesses and the experience of the extended EU Blocking Statute to date. Panellists will also consider the interplay with global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards as well as with other US and EU sanctions programmes.

Venue

The Law Society – Reading Room

113 Chancery Lane

London, WC2A

Time

8:30 am – Registration

9:00 am – Start

10:00 am – Finish

Places are limited for this open invitation event. Please confirm your attendance as soon as possible by emailing events@petersandpeters.com (indicating any dietary requirements).

EU Commission proposes Qualified Majority Voting for sanctions

EU Commission2Last month, the EU Commission recommended the introduction of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) instead of unanimity in (inter alia) sanctions policy, on the grounds that requiring unanimity “slows down progress and in some cases prevents the EU from adjusting to changing realities”. Two EU sanctions regimes (Belarus and Venezuela) were given as examples to “demonstrate that unanimous voting in the Council hampers the ability of the European Union to react quickly and firmly to international developments”.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has requested EU leaders to discuss whether the EU will adopt the Commission’s recommendation at the Council meeting on 9 May 2019 in Romania.

The UK’s preference is for unanimity: “The UK is seeking a deep and special partnership with the EU following our withdrawal. It is therefore in our interests that the EU continues to be an effective foreign policy actor in the way it chooses. We recognise some of the frustrations highlighted by the Commission. However, we think that EU foreign policy decisions made by consensus carry considerable weight because all Member States agree them.” See Minister for Europe’s Explanatory Memorandum and European Scrutiny Committee’s Conclusions.

EU extends Rep of Guinea, Moldova & Burundi sanctions for 1 year

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The EU has extended for 1 year its sanctions in respect of:

OFAC adds Singaporean national & entities to N Korea sanctions

US Treasury Building2Yesterday, OFAC designated a Singaporean national, Tan Wee Beng, and two Singapore-based entities, Wee Tiong (S) Pte Ltd and WT Marine Pte Ltd, pursuant to Executive Order 13551 (asset freezes), for engaging in “money laundering, the counterfeiting of goods or currency, bulk cash smuggling, narcotics trafficking, or other illicit economic activity that involves or supports the Government of North Korea or any senior official thereof”. Mr Beng is a director and significant shareholder of Wee Tiong (S) Pte Ltd, a commodities trading company, and the Managing Director of WT Marine Pte Ltd, a marine fuels company.

Two vessels operated and managed by WT Marine Pte Ltd were also designated for engaging in “illicit economic activity” involving or supporting the North Korean government: JW JEWEL (IMO: 9402964) and NYMEX STAR (IMO: 9078191). See OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

Furthermore, the US Department of Justice unsealed criminal charges against Mr Beng for “conspiring to violate United States sanctions on the DPRK by conducting… illicit transactions on behalf of North Korean entities” – see DoJ press release.

OFAC extends Belarus sanctions relief for 1 year

OFAC3Today, OFAC issued General Licence No 2F, which extends for 1 year the sanctions relief for 9 Belarusian entities until 25 October 2019.

Subject to the restrictions set out in the licence, all transactions otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13405 involving the 9 Belarusian entities, or any entities that are owned, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more of the named Belarusian entities, are authorised.

US persons relying on the licence to engage in transactions involving (directly or indirectly) any of the named Belarusian entities must file a report to the US Department of State if a transaction, or any series of transactions, exceeds $50,000. See OFAC Notice.

US Senate passes 2 Hizballah sanctions Bills

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This month, the US Senate passed 2 Bills targeting Hizballah: 

1.      The Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018 amends its 2015 legislation to impose sanctions on: (i) foreign persons that knowingly assist in, or provide support for, fundraising or recruitment activities for Hizballah; (ii) agencies of foreign governments that provide Hizballah with financial support, arms or other assistance; and (iii) Hizballah networks, by reason of its narcotics trafficking and significant transnational criminal activities.

2.      The Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act imposes sanctions (asset freeze and travel restrictions) on each foreign individual and entity that is a member of, or acts on behalf of, Hizballah and that is responsible for, or complicit in, the use of human shields, as well as each foreign person, entity, or instrumentality of a foreign state that has supported or facilitated such person or entity.

Both Bills will become law once signed by President Donald Trump.

Update: On 25 October 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018 into law. See White House press release.

USA & Gulf States sanction Taliban facilitators & Iranian supporters

Terrorist.jpgToday, the 7-member nations* of the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC) sanctioned 8 individuals “associated with the Taliban, including those facilitating Iranian support to bolster the terrorist group”.

OFAC designated the following as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, pursuant to Executive Order 13224 (asset freezes imposed): Mohammad Ebrahim Owhadi; Esma’il Razavi; Abdullah Samad Faroqui; Mohammad Daoud Muzzamil; Abdul Rahim Manan; Abdul Aziz; Sadr Ibrahim; and Hafiz Abdul Majid.

TFTC member states also designated Naim Barich for “managing the Taliban’s relationship with Iran”. The US previously designated Naim Barich under the US Kingpin Act in November 2012. See OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.

*(1) Bahrain; (2) Kuwait; (3) Oman; (4) Qatar; (5) Saudi Arabia; (6) UAE; and (7) USA