About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.

Further amendments to UK sanctions Bill at Lords Committee stage

Parliament5.jpgYesterday, the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill had its third sitting in the Committee stage of the House of Lords. List of amendments considered by the Committee here, and transcripts of the session here and here. The next sitting will be on 12 December 2017.

The second sitting took place on 29 November 2017 (transcript of session here). For information on the first sitting (21 November), see previous blog here.

EU publishes list of 17 non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

EU1Yesterday, the EU Council published a list of 17 “non-cooperative” jurisdictions in taxation matters. No additional sanctions were imposed on those states, but the EU stated that the named jurisdictions are strongly encouraged to make the changes requested of them, whether to their tax legislation, policies and/or administrative practices. Failure to do so could result in the EU and member states applying “defensive measures”, including both taxation and non-taxation measures, with the aim of preventing the erosion of EU member state tax bases.

The EU also published a list of 47 “co-operative” jurisdictions, which have already committed to introducing relevant changes in their tax legislation in order to comply with EU and international tax standards (those commitments to be monitored). EU Notice here, and Council conclusions (including the lists) here.

OFAC adds Jamaican ISIS recruiter to terrorist sanctions list

OFAC2OFAC has added ‘Abdullah Ibrahim al-Faisal’, a Jamaican-based Islamic cleric, to its terrorist sanctions list for providing “recruitment services to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)”.

In particular, Mr al-Faisal is stated to have “facilitated and helped connect ISIS recruits with those who could arrange travel and entry into ISIS-controlled territory in order to join ISIS”. Moreover, that he “helped hide those seeking to join ISIS or travel to ISIS-controlled territory”, as well as “vouch[ing] for those seeking to join ISIS”. OFAC Notice here, and US Treasury press release here.

OFSI renews 2 TAFA designations

OFSI1The UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has renewed the designations of ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command’ and ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)’ under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA).

OFSI Notice here. Proscribed organisations may appeal to the High Court (or, in Scotland, to the Court of Session) against the OFSI decisions renewing their final designations under s.26 TAFA – see previous blogs in relation to the ISYF’s appeals.

EU amends Russia prohibitions in respect of ExoMars 2020 mission

ExoMars.jpgThe EU prohibitions on Russia (see Article 2 of Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP and Article 4 of Council Regulation (EU) 833/2014) have been amended to permit the provision (directly or indirectly) of “technical assistance, financing or financial assistance” related to the sale, supply, transfer or export and the import, purchase or transport of hydrazine in concentrations of 70% or more, provided that that “technical assistance, financing or financial assistance” refers to hydrazine destined for: (i) the tests and flight of the ExoMars descent module, in the framework of the ExoMars 2020 mission; or (ii) the flight of the ExoMars carrier module, in the framework of the ExoMars 2020 mission. See: Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2214 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2212.

EU Al-Aqsa listing amended

EU2The EU has published a Notice amending the terrorist asset freeze listing of Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade in light of new information. The Notice states that the group can request the updated statements of reasons by 5 December and may ask the Council to reconsider its listing by 15 December. For the EU terrorism list, see the Annex to Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1420.

UK visa ban Bill for gross human rights violations

Parliament3On 28 June 2017, the Immigration Control (Gross Human Rights Abuses) Bill was introduced to the House of Lords by Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws. It is a Private Member’s Bill designed to permit the Government to refuse entry to the UK to third country nationals involved in gross human rights abuses (if the 3 conditions referred to in s.241A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 are met). The second reading of the Bill will be on 15 December 2017.


Trump pledges ‘additional major’ sanctions on N Korea

Trump2.jpgIn light of North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test, President Donald Trump has pledged “additional major” sanctions against the state.

Yesterday, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting in which France, in particular, advocated for the acceleration and expansion of existing sanctions against North Korea.