EU sanctions increased on N Korea in line with latest UN Security Council resolution

EU1.jpgThe EU, in adopting Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1836, has strengthened its restrictive measures against the DPRK by transposing the sectoral sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2375 (2017). That resolution was adopted on 11 September 2017 in response to the DPRK’s ongoing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles-development activities, in violation of previous UN Security Council resolutions.

The measures introduced by UNSC resolution 2375 (2017) include a ban on the sale of natural gas liquids to the DPRK, and on the importation of its textiles. The new measures also include limitations on the sale of refined petroleum products and crude oil to the DPRK. In addition, member states shall not be permitted to provide new work authorisations to DPRK nationals to enter and work in their territory. The exemptions provided by the UN Security Council for humanitarian and livelihood purposes have also been transposed.

Further, as agreed by EU foreign ministers in Tallinn on 7 September, the Council is currently working on possible additional EU autonomous measures to complement and reinforce the UN Security Council sanctions.

For the Council’s full press release, click here.

3 people plead guilty to illegal exports from USA to Syria

Syrian Air.jpgLast week 3 people pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud  and exporting prohibited articles to Syria in violation of US export control laws, in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Aviation parts and equipment are alleged to have been exported without a licence to Syrian Arab Airlines (Syrian Air), the Syrian Government’s airline, which had been listed as an SDN by OFAC for transporting weapons and ammunition to Syria in conjunction with Hizballah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The defendants are to be sentenced on 19 December. For the US Department of Justice press release, click here.

Visa suspensions between Turkey and US

Turkey-USA BreakupOn 8 October, the US announced that it had suspended the processing of all non-immigrant visa applications in Turkey due to “recent events”, which appears to be linked to the arrest last week of a US embassy employee in Istanbul. Turkey responded the following day with a matching statement, suspending the processing of all non-immigrant visa applications in its embassy and consulate in the US.

US revokes Sudan sanctions

Sudan 1On 6 October, the US decided to revoke long-standing economic sanctions against Sudan, in recognition of its progress towards maintaining a cessation of hostilities in Sudanese conflict areas, improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintaining cooperation with the US on addressing regional conflicts and the threat of terrorism. Although not a condition for revoking the sanctions, the US also secured a commitment from Sudan not to pursue arms deals with North Korea. The revocation is set to take effect on 12 October 2017.

Sudan, however, will continue to remain on the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism – alongside Iran and Syria – which carries, among other things, a ban on weapon sales and restrictions on US foreign assistance.

The US State Department has issued a press statement and a report with respect to this revocation of sanctions. OFAC has also published frequently asked questions, as well as a new general licence authorising certain transactions.

Trump may not certify Iran’s compliance with JCPOA

Iran 1US President Trump must decide by 15 October whether he will certify to Congress that Iran is complying with its obligations set out in the nuclear deal (JCPOA). He has previously certified that it has done so twice before, in April and July 2017. If the President does not certify, Congress has 60 days to decide whether to re-impose sanctions on Iran.

The US has also indicated that it may designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group. In response, the IRGC Commander warned that, if designated, the military wing would treat US troops, particularly those in the Middle East, as if they were Islamic State terrorists.

White Birch settlement with OFAC for violating Sudan sanctions

BD White Birch Investment LLC (White Birch USA), a company headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, has agreed to pay OFAC $372,465 to settle allegations that it violated the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations by having facilitated the sale and shipment of 543.952 metric tons of Canadian-origin paper from Canada to Sudan with a value of $354,602.26 in April and December 2013.

The enforcement action reinforces certain compliance obligations for US persons, including US parent corporations that maintain subsidiaries located outside of the United States, and their US person employees. For the full enforcement information, released on 5 October 2017, click here.

EU Court rejects 2 Tunisia cases

The General Court has rejected 2 applications to annul listings on the EU’s Tunisia sanctions, brought by Sirine Ben Ali and Mohamed Mabrouk. Links to judgments here: T-149/15 and T-175/15, both of 5 October 2017.  These are the regimes the EU imposed in 2011 on those said to have misappropriated Tunisian state funds.

The Court rejected both cases, finding that it was sufficient for the applicants’ inclusion in these measures that there are ongoing judicial proceedings against them in Tunisia for misappropriation offences.  The Court rejected arguments that those proceedings were taking unreasonably long, unlikely to lead to trial and politically motivated, and that the EU sanctions had run their course given that Tunisia was now a democracy.  The Court did say that by analogy with the counter-terrorism Kadi case law the EU had to examine the evidence sent to it by the Tunisian authorities, but that it had done so sufficiently in these cases.  The judgments cover many other points about admissibility, confirmatory decisions etc too, and also consider whether less onerous alternatives were possible in the proportionality analysis.