Colombian designations under US Kingpin Act

Logo_of_the_U.S._Office_of_Foreign_Assets_Control_(OFAC).jpgOFAC has designated 3 people and 4 entities (all Colombian) as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNTs) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

The 3 people, Javier Garcia Rojas, Ruth Garcia Rojas and Wilton Cesar Hernandez Durango, were each designated for “their links to previously designated SDNTs Jose Bayron Piedrahita Ceballos and the Colombian criminal group La Oficina de Envigado”. La Oficina is said to have “direct involvement in narcotics trafficking”, as well as being “complicit in a variety of illicit activities including money laundering, extortion, and murder for hire”.

The 4 entities were each designated for being “owned, controlled, or directed” by the 3 individuals designated in the present action. Links here for OFAC Notice and Treasury press release. 22 entries were also deleted from the US SDN list.

US FinCEN seeks sanctions against Latvia’s ABLV Bank

FinCEN.pngThe US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking, pursuant to section 311 of the USA Patriot Act, to prohibit the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account in the US for, or on behalf of, Latvia’s ABLV Bank. FinCEN proposed this action on the basis that “ABLV is a foreign bank of primary money laundering concern” and that its illicit financial activity includes “transactions for parties connected to UN-designated entities, some of which are involved in North Korea’s procurement or export of ballistic missiles”. FinCEN press release here.

In November 2017, FinCEN issued a final rule under section 311 of the USA Patriot Act to sever China’s Bank of Dandong from the US financial system for acting “as a conduit for North Korea to access the US and international financial systems” (previous blog here).

US statement on Minsk agreements anniversary

Russia-US2.jpgThe US Department of State has issued a press release on the third anniversary (12 February 2018) of the Minsk Agreements saying that “Sadly, Russia continues to disregard its commitments… stoking a hot conflict in Ukraine that has cost over 10,000 lives…”

The statement says that US sanctions on Russia “will remain in place until Russia fully implements its commitments under the Minsk agreements”, and the “separate Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine”.

OFAC Quarterly Reports on Iran & Sudan TSRA licences

OFAC3Pursuant to section 906(b) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), OFAC has published Quarterly Reports (covering October 2015 – December 2017) on the number of licence applications it processed requesting authorisation to export agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices to Iran and Sudan.

UK froze £580k under DRC sanctions

HM Treasury.jpgIn response to a written Parliamentary Question, HM Treasury has said that from 23 July 2005 until 30 September 2016, it froze approximately £580,000 of funds in the UK pursuant to the EU’s Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions regime (Council Decision 2010/788/CFSP (as amended) and Council Regulation (EC) 1183/2005 (as amended)). Between those dates, 38 people and 9 entities were subject to EU asset freezing measures. The figures for 2017 have yet to be finalised.

New US Venezuela “new debt” FAQs

OFAC2OFAC has published 2 new Venezuela-related FAQs, which give guidance on the debt-related prohibitions in Executive Order (E.O.) 13808.

The new FAQs relate to the term “new debt” in section 1 of E.O. 13808 and to the receipt of late payments from the Government of Venezuela, including state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA).

European Parliament resolution on Venezuela sanctions

European Parliament.jpg

In light of the situation in Venezuela, the European Parliament has adopted Resolution 2018/2559(RSP) in which it (inter alia):


(1)   Strongly condemns “the decision by the Venezuelan authorities to expel the Spanish Ambassador in Caracas and declare him ‘persona non grata’” (see previous blog here);

(2)   Considers the imposition by the EU Council of “the arms embargo, and the sanctions levied against seven Venezuelan officials to be appropriate measures in response to grave breaches of human rights and democracy, but calls for them to be extended against those mainly responsible for the increased political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis, namely the President, the Vice-President, the Minister of Defence, members of the high military command, and members of their inner circles, including family members”; and

(3)   Stresses that, “if the human rights situation continues to deteriorate, further diplomatic and economic actions could be explored and adopted, including those related to the state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA)”.

UK Export Control (Amendment) Order 2018

Parliament6The new Export Control (Amendment) Order 2018, SI 2018/165, comes into force on 5 March 2018.  This amends Schedule 2 to the Export Control Order 2008, SI 2008/3231, (which lists military goods, software and technology subject to export controls) in order to implement Commission Directive (EU) 2017/2054, amending Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the list of defence-related products.