Robert Slack

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Sanctions Penalties Tick Up Again

Penalties for violations of sanctions rules administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) ticked up again yesterday.  Most violations of OFAC’s rules now face statutory penalties of $295,141 or twice the value of the underlying transaction.  Penalties for violations of OFAC’s narcotics trafficking regulations are now set at $1,466,485, with penalties for violations … Continue Reading

Trump makes it official: Venezuelan digital currency is subject to sanctions

The President signed a new Executive Order today making it unlawful to engage in transactions involving digital currency issued by the Venezuelan government.  The Executive Order makes official prior guidance from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which stated that dealings related to Venezuelan digital currency would likely be prohibited under existing sanctions. Last … Continue Reading

The U.S. sanctions Russian trolls and threatens future measures against Russian officials and oligarchs

Yesterday, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted 14 new Russian individuals and the Internet Research Agency as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) for their role interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  While limited in scope, the new designations are the first use of authority under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) … Continue Reading

New North Korea Sanctions Regulations Become Effective Today

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s new North Korea Sanctions Regulations become effective today.  In addition to making certain technical and conforming changes, the newly updated Part 510 incorporates recent changes to the sanctions program under Executive Orders (E.O.) 13687, 13722, and 13810, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, and … Continue Reading

U.S. Issues New North Korea Sanctions and a Warning to the Global Shipping and Finance Industries

Today the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued new sanctions targeting the shipping industry for dealings involving North Korea.  The sanctions include the designation of 56 companies and vessels involved in conducting illegal trade with North Korea. OFAC also issued new guidance for the global shipping and finance industries, describing common methods used … Continue Reading

U.S. Issues the Much-Anticipated “Kremlin Report” under New Russia Sanctions Law

As required under Section 241 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), last night the U.S. government released a public, unclassified version of the much-anticipated “Kremlin Report.”  The report was intended to ‘name and shame’ Russian political and business leaders, list their assets outside of Russia, provide an index of corruption with respect … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Declines to Issue Sanctions Related to Russia’s Military and Intelligence Sectors

Under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Trump administration was due to issue secondary sanctions on non-U.S. persons that conduct significant transactions with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.  The Trump administration declined to issue those new sanctions, claiming that CAATSA was serving as an effective deterrent – discouraging non-U.S. … Continue Reading

New OFAC designations signal continued U.S. sanctions pressure on Russia

Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted 21 individuals and nine entities for various reasons, including involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, connections to the Crimea region (which is subject to a complete U.S. embargo), and links to the Russian government.  Several of the newly … Continue Reading

Going to Get Paid in Venezuelan Cryptocurrency? Not so fast.

In December last year, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela would launch a cryptocurrency called “Petro” in an effort to ease the country’s serious economic woes and avoid U.S. sanctions.  Maduro said the government would issue 100 million Petros, with each Petro backed by one barrel of Venezuelan oil.  So will U.S. companies finally … Continue Reading

Trump Waives Secondary Sanctions on Iran, But Vows Not to do so Again Without Changes to the JCPOA

Last week the President begrudgingly extended waivers continuing to lift U.S. “secondary sanctions” on Iran.  But the President also insisted that he will not issue further extensions without a renegotiation of certain aspects of the joint nuclear deal with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), throwing the future of the deal and … Continue Reading

U.S. Implements Global Magnitsky Sanctions Targeting Corruption and Human Rights Abuses Worldwide

On December 20, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13818 implementing new sanctions against human rights abusers and persons involved in corruption pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act).  The Global Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. government to target persons and entities involved in gross human rights abuses – such … Continue Reading

Distributor danger: OFAC case highlights sanctions liability for bad acts by distributors and foreign subsidiaries

Many companies supply goods and services through third party distributors.  When well-structured, the use of distributors can shift some of the cost and compliance risk of selling products outside of your home territory.  But distributors can also create sanctions liability for companies, especially when foreign subsidiaries or others within the company are in on the … Continue Reading

U.S. Issues Enhanced Sanctions on Russian Energy Sector

As required under recent sanctions legislation, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently issued an updated Directive 4 that will expand sectoral sanctions on the Russian energy industry. The new rules, which apply to projects initiated on or after January 29, 2018, will bar persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing goods, services, or … Continue Reading

Secondary Sanctions Targeting Russia’s Defense and Intelligence Sectors Move Closer to Implementation

Last Friday the State Department belatedly released a list of 39 Russian entities that operate as part of Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors (the full list is below).  Congress required the Trump Administration to produce a list of such parties as part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which became law in … Continue Reading

OFAC Extends Sanctions Relief for Belarussian Conglomerates

Today the Office Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended sanctions relief for nine Belarussian conglomerates, including Belneftekhim. OFAC has authorized transactions with the listed Belarussian Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) since October 2015 through a series of temporary general licenses. Today’s General License No. 2D extends the sanctions relief through April 30, 2018, subject to the restrictions … Continue Reading

The Paper Caper: U.S. Persons Cannot Help Foreign Subsidiaries or Affiliates with Sanctioned Country Transactions

A recent settlement agreement between the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and BD White Birch Investment LLC, a U.S.-based paper company, is an important reminder that U.S. companies cannot assist their foreign subsidiaries or affiliates with sales related to sanctioned countries. … Continue Reading

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: What European Companies Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions, Export Controls, and FCPA Compliance

Join us in Brussels on November 9th, for this 2 hour seminar on what European companies need to know about U.S. sanctions, export controls, and anti-bribery compliance, co-hosted with the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.  We’ll tackle some of the most recent updates to U.S. sanctions rules, including the broad new sanctions on Russia mandated by … Continue Reading

Sale of Cartier Jewels Triggers OFAC Violations – Luxury Brands Should Be Aware of U.S. Sanctions Risks

A settlement agreement between Richemont North America, the parent company of Cartier, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violations of U.S. sanctions regulations is an important wake up call for U.S. and global retailers, which have often considered themselves to be somewhat outside the scope of U.S. sanctions laws.  In truth, the … Continue Reading

New U.S. Sanctions on North Korea – What You Need To Know

Last week the U.S. government announced new sanctions on North Korea designed to target non-U.S. persons, aircraft, vessels, and financial institutions that facilitate trade and transactions with the country.  The Executive Order contained four elements: new authority to designate persons as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs), sanctions on certain aircraft and vessels that visit North Korea, … Continue Reading

U.S. Hits Venezuela and Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA) with Financial Sanctions

On Friday, August 25th, the U.S. government announced new financial sanctions on Venezuela.  The move is the most recent U.S. response to the escalating political and humanitarian crisis in the country.  The new Executive Order bars U.S. persons from: Dealing in ‘new debt’ of Petróleos de Venezuela (PdVSA), Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, that has a … Continue Reading

U.S. Targets Chinese and Russians for North Korea Dealings

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 16 parties as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) today, effectively seizing their assets in the United States, blocking them from doing business with U.S. parties, and denying them access to the U.S. financial system.  The designations mark the latest escalation of sanctions on North Korea and an increasing … Continue Reading