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.

Russian Executive Order calling for new Ukraine sanctions

Putin3Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an Executive Order instructing the Government of Russia to designate a number of Ukrainian individuals and entities for “special economic measures” in response to “Ukraine’s unfriendly actions that contradict international law”, including the imposition of sanctions on a number of Russian persons. The Executive Order states that its application may be cancelled if the sanctions “imposed by Ukraine against the citizens and legal entities of the Russian Federation are lifted”.

Third countries align with EU sanctions on Russia/Ukraine & Libya

EU3Russia/Ukraine: Last month, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1237, which prolonged for 6 months its sanctions on Russia over “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” (see previous blog).

The EU has now announced that the following countries have aligned themselves with that Council Decision: Montenegro; Albania; Norway; and Ukraine.

Libya: Last month, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1465, which extended for 6 months its sanctions on Libya in respect of 3 people: Agila Saleh Issa Gwaider; Khalifa Ghwell; and Nuri Abu Sahmain (see previous blog).

The EU has now announced that the following countries have aligned themselves with that Council Decision: Macedonia; Montenegro; Serbia; Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Iceland; Liechtenstein; Norway; and Armenia.

EU Court upholds sanctions on Russian defence company Almaz-Antey

CJEU1.pngThe EU General Court has dismissed Russian defence company Almaz-Antey’s application to annul its 2016-2017 listing under the EU’s sectoral sanctions on Russia – see judgment here (13 September). The same Court dismissed the company’s action against its 2015-2016 listing (see previous blog).

The Court held (inter alia) that the stated objective of the sanctions regime was to increase the costs of Russian acts undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, and to promote a peaceful settlement of the crisis. That such an objective was consistent with the objective of maintaining peace and international security, in accordance with the EU’s external action objectives. Furthermore, with regard to the principle of proportionality, the importance of the objectives pursued had justified the possibility that, for certain operators, which were in no way responsible for the situation in Ukraine, the consequences may be negative, even significantly so. Consequently, interference with the Almaz-Antey’s freedom to conduct a business and the right to property could not be considered disproportionate in the circumstances.

EU prolongs Russia ‘territorial integrity’ sanctions for 6 months

EU6As foreshadowed last week, the EU has prolonged its sanctions on Russia over “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine” for a further 6 months, until 15 March 2019. The measures consist of an asset freeze and travel ban on 155 people and 44 entities. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1237, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1230, and EU press release.

EU to extend Russia ‘territorial integrity’ sanctions for 6 months

EU5Yesterday, EU ambassadors agreed to extend for 6 months the EU’s sanctions on Russia for “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”. These measures consist of an asset freeze and travel ban on 155 people and 44 entities. The legal acts will be published in the Official Journal in the coming days.

3rd countries align with EU sanctions on Libya, DPRK, Russia/Ukraine, Maldives & Terrorism

EU3.jpgLibya: On 30 July 2018, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1086, which removed an individual (Omar Ashkal) from its Libya sanctions. The following countries have aligned themselves with that Decision: Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova, and Georgia. See EU press release.

DPRK: On 30 July 2018, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1087, which updated its sanctions on North Korea (DPRK). The following countries have aligned themselves with that Decision: Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova, and Armenia. See EU press release.

Russia/Ukraine: On 5 July 2018, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/964, which prolonged its sectoral sanctions on Russia for a further 6 months, until 31 January 2019. On 30 July, the EU also adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1085, which added 6 entities to its Russia/Ukraine sanctions (actions undermining the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine) for their involvement in the construction of the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to the Crimean Peninsula. The following countries have aligned themselves with both of those Decisions: Montenegro, Albania, Norway, and Ukraine. See respective EU press releases here and here.

Maldives: On 16 July 2018, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1006, which established a sanctions framework on the Maldives in response to the country’s “continuing deterioration of the rule of law and human rights”. The following countries have aligned themselves with that Decision: Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova, and Armenia. See EU press release.

Terrorism: On 16 July 2018, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1000, which added Algerian national Rabah Tahari to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda sanctions list. On 30 July, the EU also adopted Council Decision 2018/1084, which updated the list of persons and entities involved in terrorist acts as laid down by Council Common Position 2001/931/CFSP. The following countries have aligned themselves with both of those Decisions: Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Moldova, and Armenia. Furthermore, Liechtenstein and Georgia have aligned themselves with Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1000 only. See respective EU press releases here and here.

EU sanctions 6 entities for Crimea bridge

EU1As foreshadowed, today the EU has added 6 entities to its sanctions that target those who undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. They have been listed for their involvement in the construction of the Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to the Crimean Peninsula.

The 6 entities are: AO “Institute Giprostroymost — Saint-Petersburg”; PJSC Mostotrest; JSC Zaliv Shipyard; Stroygazmontazh Corporation (SGM Group); Stroygazmontazh Most OOO; and CJSC VAD. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/1085, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1072, and EU press release.  As we reported, Arkady Rotenberg, the reasons for whose original listing were annulled by the European court, was re-listed in July 2017 for being said to benefit from Stroygazmontazh’s construction contract for the bridge.