UK chemicals company fined $7k for violating export controls

HMRCA Leicestershire-based company, VWR International Ltd, has been fined a total of £7,039 at City of London Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to 4 counts of exporting goods contrary to a prohibition or restriction. Specifically, VWR illegally shipped 4 consignments of controlled chemicals and metal to foreign jurisdictions without the required export licence. VWR shipped the first consignment days after being denied the necessary licence, and failed to apply for the required licence in relation to the other three consignments. The case was investigated and prosecuted on behalf of HMRC.

UK adopts Sanctions Review Procedure Regulations

Parliament6The UK has adopted the Sanctions Review Procedure (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/1269, which come into force on 7 January 2019.

They make provision for (inter alia) the procedures under the UK Sanctions Act to enable people / entities to request a review, variation or revocation of a sanctions listing or ship specification.

Canada sanctions 17 Saudi nationals over Khashoggi killing

Canada1.jpgCanada has imposed targeted sanctions (asset freezes and travel bans) against 17 Saudi nationals, pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), for being “responsible for or complicit in the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi that took place at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018”. See Press Release for the list of individuals sanctioned.

Earlier this month, the US sanctioned the same 17 Saudi nationals under its Global Magnitsky Laws (Executive Order 13818) for “serious human rights abuse resulting from their roles in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi” (see previous blog).

OFAC sanctions 2 Iranian facilitators of ‘malicious cyber activity’

US Treasury Building2OFAC has designated 2 Iranian nationals, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, “who helped exchange digital currency (bitcoin) ransom payments into Iranian rial on behalf of Iranian malicious cyber actors involved with the SamSam ransomware scheme”. For the first time, OFAC has also publicly identified 2 digital currency addresses associated with these 2 individuals, in which over 7000 bitcoin transactions (worth millions of US dollars) were processed through. These cyber-related designations were made pursuant to Executive Order 13694, which imposes US asset freezes and travel bans, and could subject others to secondary sanctions if they engage in transactions with the 2 listed individuals. See OFAC Notice, US Treasury Press Release, and Two New Digital Currency-Related FAQs.

OFAC & Cobham Holdings reach $88k settlement over Ukraine sanctions violations

OFAC2OFAC has announced a $87,507 settlement with Virginia-based Cobham Holdings Inc in order to settle on behalf of its former subsidiary, Aeroflex/Metelics Inc, three violations of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations. Specifically, between July 2014 and January 2015, Metelics indirectly exported defence components for end-use by Russian defence company Almaz Antey Telecommunications LLC (AAT). At all relevant times, although AAT was not explicitly identified on the SDN List, it was owned 50% or more by Joint-Stock Concern Almaz-Antey, which OFAC had sanctioned on 16 July 2014 (two weeks before Metelics made its first shipment of defence components). See OFAC Notice and Enforcement Information.

New US Executive Order targeting Nicaragua

Trump5US President Donald Trump has issued a new Executive Order targeting Nicaragua. It imposes US asset freezes and travel bans on (inter alia) individuals and entities engaged in corruption, serious human rights abuses, and actions or policies which undermine democracy, or threaten the peace, security or stability of Nicaragua. It also targets officials of the Nicaraguan Government who have served at any time on or after 10 January 2007.

Pursuant to this new Executive Order, OFAC has sanctioned two of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s associates: Rosario Maria Murillo De Ortega, Vice President of Nicaragua and First Lady, and Nestor Moncada Lau, national security advisor to the President and Vice President. As a result, they will now be subject to US asset freezes and travel bans. See OFAC Notice, US Treasury Press Release, and White House Fact Sheet.

EU Court annuls PKK’s 2014-17 sanctions listing

CJEU1The EU General Court has allowed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) application to annul its 2014 to 2017 terrorism sanctions listings – see judgment: T-316/14. The Court held that the EU had breached its obligation to state reasons because (in summary) a “significant” period of time (over 10 years) had elapsed since the adoption of the material justifying the PKK’s initial designation in 2002, of which was no longer sufficient in determining whether the PKK’s involvement in terrorist activities persisted at the time when the contested acts were adopted between 2014 and 2017.

In 2008, the PKK had successfully challenged its June 2002 terrorism sanctions listing before the EU Court (judgment: T-229/02), on the basis that the EU had again breached its obligation to state reasons.

In March and July 2018, the EU renewed the PKK’s terrorism sanctions listing in Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/468 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1071. Those 2018 re-listings, were not addressed in this judgment so the PKK continues to remain on the EU terrorism sanctions list.

EU upholds Egypt sanctions listings

CJEU1The EU General Court has upheld the 2016 and 2017 Egypt sanctions listings (targeting the misappropriation of state funds) of Suzanne Thabet, the wife of the former President Mubarak, their sons, Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak, and their sons’ wives, Khadiga El Gammal and Heidy Rasekh. See joined judgment: T-274/16 and T-275/16.

The Court did not accept the applicants’ arguments that there was no legal basis for their listings, that the Egyptian judicial proceedings did not respect their fundamental rights, and that the EU had infringed rights of the defence and the principle of proportionality. See EU Press Release.