US designates leader of Hamas and 3 entities as global terrorists

US Treasury BuildingThe US Department of State has designated 1 person and 3 entities as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), pursuant to section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224 (asset freezes imposed). That Executive Order imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the US.

The designated person, Ismail Haniyeh, is alleged to be the leader and president of the Political Bureau of Hamas; an entity designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, and in 2001 as an SDGT. He is stated as having “close links with Hamas’ military wing” and for being “a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians”. Furthermore, there are reports that he has been involved in “terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens”.

The 3-designated entities are: Harakat al-Sabireen (alleged to be an Iranian backed terrorist group operating primarily in Gaza and the West Bank); Liwa al-Thawra (alleged to be a terrorist group active in the Qalyubia and Monofeya governorates of Egypt); and Harakat Sawa’d Misr (HASM) (alleged to be a terrorist group also active in Egypt). Links here for OFAC Notice and Department of State press release.

EU renews all listings under Tunisia sanctions regime

Tunisia1.jpgThe EU has renewed the listings of all persons and entities (and amended one entry) under its Tunisia sanctions list until 31 January 2019, namely, all those appearing in the Annex to Council Decision 2011/72/CFSP (as amended by Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/141) and in Annex I to Council Regulation (EU) 101/2011 (as implemented by Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/137). The EU Notice explains that those affected may submit a request to the EU Council for a reconsideration of the decision before 31 October 2018. The EU announced its intention to renew these restrictive measures on 8 December 2017 (previous blog here).

The EU has also published a Notice notifying 3 people listed under its Egypt sanctions list that it holds “new elements” relating to their designation, and that it intends to amend the statement of reasons in relation to 2 of them. The Notice explains that the affected persons may submit a request to the EU Council to obtain the new information before 2 February 2018.

EU holds new information on 2 people listed on Egypt sanctions

egypt-cairo-2The EU has published a notice for the attention of Mohamed and Amir Garrana, both listed on its sanctions against those said to have misappropriated Egyptian state funds, informing them that it holds new information on file concerning them.  They may write to the Council to obtain the information relating to them before 13 February 2017.

EU new information about people listed on Egypt sanctions

egypt-cairo-1The EU Council has notified all people listed on the EU’s sanctions on people said to have misappropriated Egyptian state funds that the Council holds new information concerning them on file, and that they may submit a request to the Council before 17 February 2017 to obtain the information relating to them.  A link to the notice is here.

UK Court dismisses sanctions funding judicial review

The Administrative Court in the UK has dismissed a claim for judicial review brought by Egyptian businessman Ahmed Ezz, which challenged the rationality of an HM Treasury decision on the release of his frozen funds for the payment of legal expenses in Egypt – R (on the application of Ezz) v HM Treasury [2016] EWHC 1470 (Admin).  Mr Ezz is subject to an asset freeze under the EU’s sanctions on Egypt (see previous blog), for allegedly misappropriating public funds.  The decision at issue was to assess the reasonableness of the legal fees charged by Mr Ezz’s Egyptian lawyers by taking the maximum London legal rates and converting them to a reasonable rate in Egypt via the IMF’s purchasing power parity (PPP) ratio.  The ratio compares the relative costs of living in different countries, and in this way HM Treasury reduced the maximum daily rate payable for appearing in court from £15,000 in the UK to $5,790.98.

The Court found that, in accordance with general principles of interpreting EU law, the derogation from the asset freeze under the EU’s Egypt sanctions for payment of legal expenses must be interpreted restrictively.  It said that this was particularly so given that the objective of the sanctions was to recover misappropriated public funds, which would allegedly be undermined were Mr Ezz’s application successful.  It noted that HM Treasury had been generous in using the maximum daily rate in London as its starting point, and that the “reasonable” fees allowed by the EU did not necessarily mean the highest legal fees payable.  The Court concluded by saying that it was not unreasonable for HM Treasury to use the PPP conversion ratio, even though the cost of legal services in Egypt may not be perfectly reflected by a ratio based on general living expenses.

EU renews Egypt sanctions

The EU has renewed its targeted sanctions relating to Egypt for 1 year, until 22 March 2017.  The sanctions impose asset freezes on 19 people said to be subject to “judicial proceedings” by the Egyptian authorities for being involved in the “misappropriation of state funds” (including former President Mubarak). See blog on the related Ezz judgment here.

The renewing measures are Decision (CFSP) 2016/411 amending Decision 2011/172/CFSP.  The EU’s notice to the listed people (here) informs them that they may ask the Council before 15 December 2016 to request that their inclusion on the sanctions list be reconsidered, and may seek licenses to use frozen funds.

EU to renew Egypt misappropriation sanctions

The EU has published a notice saying that it is considering renewing all of the listings on its targeted sanctions relating to Egypt, which freezes the assets of those said to be responsible for misappropriating State funds.  Listed people have until 19 February 2016 to request the information the EU Council holds on them on its file, and any observations received before 29 February will be taken into account as part of the Council’s periodic review of its Egypt sanctions regime.

EU EXTENDS SANCTIONS IN VIEW OF THE SITUATION IN EGYPT

On 21 March 2015, the EU Council extended its restrictive measures in view of the situation in Egypt until 22 March 2016.  Under the measures, listed individuals and entities are subject to an EU-wide asset freeze.

The current EU sanctions were introduced in March 2011, following the EU’s announcement of its support for Egypt’s transition to a civilian and democratic government, and target those allegedly responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian state assets.

The extension is brought into force by Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/486 amending Council Decision 2011/172/CFSP.