Last week (13 July 2018), the US Department of Commerce announced that Chinese telecoms company ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd) had placed $400 million in escrow at a US bank and, as a result, the Department had lifted the 7-year denial order on ZTE pursuant to the $1.4 billion settlement agreement approved last month (see our previous blog for the full details of that new agreement).
The EU has added Algerian national Rabah Tahari to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda sanctions list (asset freeze imposed). See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1000, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/999, and UK OFSI Notice.
This is the second person to be designated under these sanctions. French national Fabien Clain was the first to be designated in February 2018 (previous blog).
In response to a Parliamentary Question, HM Treasury has stated that at close of business on 29 September 2017, the approximate total value of frozen Libyan funds in the UK was £12.061 billion (the UK implements sanctions against Libya through the EU).
In light of the recent US decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and to reimpose sanctions on Iran, the EU Parliament approved last week (4 July 2018) the first reading of a Commission Delegated Decision which adds Iran to the list of countries eligible for investment activities by the European Investment Bank (EIB) (the EIB’s External Lending Mandate). The Delegated Decision, however, will not oblige the EIB to work with Iran.
This measure, along with the EU’s amended Blocking Statute (previous blog), forms the EU’s strategic approach to protecting European companies from the extraterritorial effects of US Iran sanctions.
The UN Security Council has removed the ‘General Establishment for Grain Trading’ from its Iraq sanctions list. As a result, the entity will no longer be subject to UN asset freezing measures. UN press release here.
The EU has prolonged its sanctions targeting the financial, energy and defence sectors of the Russian economy until 31 January 2019, see Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/964 (we reported last week that EU leaders had agreed to continue the sanctions). The EU measures were originally introduced in July 2014 for 1 year (and strengthened in September 2014) in response to “Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine”. EU press release here (includes a summary of the sanctions prolonged by this Decision).
Today, the Joint Commission of the JCPOA (the body responsible for overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA) held a ministerial level meeting in Vienna to discuss the continued implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in light of the recent US decision to withdraw from the agreement and to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Statement here.
The meeting was chaired by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and was attended by representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, UK and Iran. They all reconfirmed their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the nuclear deal, and affirmed their commitment regarding the following objectives:
· The maintenance and promotion of wider economic and sectoral relations with Iran;
· The preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran;
· The continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals;
· The continuation of sea (including shipping and insurance), land, air and rail transportation relations;
· The promotion of export credit cover;
· Clear and effective support for economic operators trading with Iran, particularly SMEs;
· The encouragement of further investments in Iran;
· The protection of economic operators for their investment and other commercial and financial activities in or in relation to Iran;
· The bringing together of private and public-sector experts, including through the promotion of Business Councils;
· The practical support for trade with and investment in Iran; and
· The protection of companies from the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions (see previous blog on the updating of the EU Blocking Statute).
Yesterday, OFAC added 3 Nicaraguan nationals to its Global Magnitsky sanctions list (asset freezes and travel bans imposed).
Francisco Diaz (Nicaraguan National Police Commissioner) and Fidel Moreno (Secretary of the Mayor’s Office of Managua) were sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13818 for being “responsible for, or the leaders of entities involved in, serious human rights abuse in Nicaragua”. Jose Francisco Lopez (President of the Nicaraguan state-owned oil company Petronic, and Vice President of ALBA de Nicaragua (company that imports and sells Venezuelan petroleum products)) was sanctioned pursuant to EO 13818 for “engaging in corrupt activities”. See OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.