UK and EU impose new sanctions in response to Belarus’ forced diversion of a Ryanair flight

On Monday 21 June 2021 the governments of the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada and the United States made a joint statement announcing co-ordinated new sanctions on Belarus. The new sanctions were imposed in response to the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight to Minsk, Belarus on 23 May 2021 and the subsequent arrest of opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich, and his companion Sofia Sapega, and to ongoing concerns about the Belarusian regime’s attacks on human rights and the suppression of democracy under its president Alexander Lukashenko. Continue reading

New Commission opinion on EU sanctions and “making available”: the impact of a non-sanctioned company and its subsidiaries of having a Designated Person director

On 8 June 2021, the European Commission published an opinion on Article 2(2) of Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 (the “Regulation”). The Regulation imposes an asset freeze on certain Russian individuals and entities in response to the situation in Ukraine. Article 2(2) contains the standard EU asset freeze wording providing that “no funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of” the designated persons listed in Annex I to the Regulation. Continue reading

New year, new UK sanctions regime

Upon the end of the Brexit transition period at 11pm on 31 December 2020, the UK ceased to implement EU sanctions. UK sanctions are now in force under the UK’s domestic sanctions regime, the framework for which is contained in the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018 (“SAMLA”). The UK has introduced regulations under SAMLA which implement UK versions of the EU sanctions regimes that were in force pre-Brexit, although the new UK sanctions are not identical to the EU sanctions in all respects. Continue reading

US Sanctions and the right of borrowers to withhold repayment: Commercial Court signals return to orthodoxy

The Commercial Court has granted summary judgment in favour of a bank seeking to recover payments under Credit Agreements entered into with the Venezuelan state-owned oil and gas company, Petroleos De Venezuela SA (PDVSA), finding that the defaulting borrower had no real prospect of successfully defending the claims on the basis of certain US Sanctions imposed on Venezuela which post-dated the execution of the Credit Agreements: Banco San Juan Internacional Inc v Petroleos De Venezuela SA [2020] EWHC 2937 (Comm). Continue reading

HSF Launches New Sanctions Blog

Herbert Smith Freehills’ US Sanctions team has recently launched a new Sanctions blog. The blog will provide commentary on economic sanctions and export control issues, with a focus on US laws, and will be of particular interest to in-house counsel and compliance personnel in both US and non-US companies. Continue reading

Third HSF webinar in Global CC&I Conference series: sanctions developments in a turbulent global environment

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Seventh Annual Corporate Crime & Investigations (“CC&I”) Conference is being held as a Global Conference Series of webinars over the upcoming months. The first webinar took place on 18 June 2020 and covered the topic of “CC&I in the time of Covid-19”. The second took place on 16 July 2020 and covered the topic of “2020 Developments in Anti-Bribery and Corruption and Deferred Prosecution Agreements”. The third took place on 20 August 2020 and covered the topic of “Sanctions developments in a turbulent global environment”.

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EU introduces sanctions in relation to cyberattacks

On 30 July 2020, the European Council announced that asset freezing sanctions were to be imposed on six Chinese and Russian individuals and three entities (based in China, Russia and North Korea) responsible for, or involved in, various cyberattacks, including the attempted cyberattack against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and those publicly known as “WannaCry”, “NotPetya” and “Operation Cloud Hopper”. Continue reading

UK introduces human rights-related sanctions under post-Brexit sanctions framework

On 6 July 2020, the United Kingdom introduced unilateral sanctions against 49 individuals and entities from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea accused of involvement in several high profile human rights violations and abuses.The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 (the “Sanctions Regulations”), made pursuant to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 ( “SAMLA”), are specifically tailored to address human rights abuses and mark the first time that the UK has imposed sanctions for human rights violations and abuses independently of either the United Nations or the European Union (“EU”) sanctions regimes. Continue reading