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.

EU lifts travel bans imposed over Mostar attack (10 Feb. 1997)

EU3.jpgThe EU has adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/458, which repeals Common Position 97/193/CFSP. That Common Position imposed EU-wide travel bans on 3 individuals – Ivan Hrkac, Zeljko Planinic, and Bozo Peric – who were identified as “persons having perpetrated violent acts during the incidents in Mostar on 10 February 1997”.

US inflation adjustment for civil monetary penalties

OFAC2The US Department of the Treasury has published a final rule to adjust its civil monetary penalties (CMPs) for inflation, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (as amended). In particular, CMPs within the jurisdiction of certain components of the Treasury Department have been adjusted to the maximum amount required by the 1990 Act (as amended).

EU renews Bosnia & Herzegovina sanctions

EU1.jpgThe EU has renewed its Bosnia and Herzegovina sanctions until 31 March 2019, which imposes asset freezes and travel bans on those deemed to be undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, seriously threatening its security situation, or undermining the Dayton/Paris peace agreement (the EU has yet to sanction any individuals/entities under this regime). See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/459.

EU considers new Iran sanctions

EU6The UK, France and Germany have proposed new EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme and Syria, to try to ensure that the US continues its commitment to the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA). EU Foreign Ministers are set to discuss the proposal in Brussels today.

On 12 January 2018, US President Trump agreed a waiver to suspend sanctions on Iran as part of the JCPOA and said that it would be the “last time” he did so unless there was an agreement with the EU  to “fix the deal’s disastrous flaws” (previous blog here). President Trump will next determine whether to waive sanctions on 12 May 2018.

Russian retaliatory measures for UK & US sanctions

shutterstock_428679478.jpgAs previously reported, the UK has set out a number of measures against Russia, including its decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal (previous blog here). The US has designated 19 individuals and 5 entities for Russia’s “interference with the 2016 US elections” and its role in conducting “malicious cyberattacks” (previous blog here).

In response, Russia has announced that 23 diplomats from the UK Embassy in Moscow have been declared ‘persona non grata’ and will be expelled from Russia within a week, and that the British Council and the UK Consulate General in St Petersburg will be closed. Russia has also said it will be expanding its sanctions ‘blacklist’ against a number of US individuals – see here.

First judgment on EU North Korea sanctions

CJEU1The EU General Court has given judgment in the first case about the EU’s North Korea DPRK sanctions regime. Judgment here (Maya Lester QC appeared for the applicants).

The Korea National Insurance Company was subject to an EU asset freeze for (in summary) “generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could be used to contribute” to the DPRK’s nuclear / ballistic programme. The Court found, in essence, that as a state-owned insurance company that generated a profit (even if it did not generate substantial foreign exchange revenue) the listing criterion was fulfilled. The Court also rejected claims brought by individuals who had held positions in the company, on the basis that their witness evidence explaining (inter alia) their retirement / absence of ongoing links with the company had no probative value because it was prepared for the purposes of the EU case.

EU sanctions 4 people linked to chemical weapons in Syria

EU2The EU has added 4 people to its Syria sanctions list for “their role in the development and use of chemical weapons against the civilian population”.

The individuals include a high-ranking military official, Yusuf Ajeeb, and 3 scientists working at the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), Maher Sulaiman, Salam Tohme and Zuhair Fadhlun. SSCR is the government entity responsible for “developing and producing non-conventional weapons, including chemical weapons, and the missiles to deliver them” (it has been subject to EU sanctions since 1 December 2011). See Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/421 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/420. EU press release here, EU Notice here and UK OFSI Notice here.

11th ACI Conference on Economic Sanctions Enforcement & Compliance

The American Conference Institute is holding its 11th Conference on Economic Sanctions Enforcement & Compliance on April 25-26, 2018 at the Westin DC City Center in Washington, DC.  It includes:

  • Keynote address from OFAC Director John Smith.
  • Sessions on Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
  • Audience polling sessions to test knowledge and hear from regulators including OFAC, DOJ, BIS, and HM Treasury.
  • International experts to discuss the latest trends and compliance challenges facing companies in a variety of industries including banking, technology, oil/gas, retail, automotive and insurance.

A 10% discount is available to EU Sanctions readers with the code D10-999-EUSB18 and group discounts are available for 3 or more people. Go to AmericanConference.com/EconomicSanctionsDC for more details or to register online.