OFAC expands sectoral sanctions on Belarus

On December 2, 2021, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury took several actions to increase sanctions pressure on Belarusian government, including the introduction of a new sectoral sanctions regime (Directive 1) targeting certain Belarusian sovereign debt, the designation of 35 additional persons and entities to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), and the issuance of general license 5 (GL 5) for the wind down of dealings with two entities designated in the potash sector. Continue reading

European Commission launches new public consultation seeking feedback to possible amendments to the EU Blocking Statute

In August 2021, we published a post about the European Commission’s roadmap / inception impact assessment in relation to its review of the current Blocking Statute (Regulation 2271/96). On 31 August 2021, the European Commission closed the initial feedback period for this impact assessment and, as a next step, has now launched a public consultation process seeking further feedback on the Blocking Statute. The questionnaire can be accessed here and will remain open to all citizens and organisations (both in the EU and outside) until 4 November 2021. Continue reading

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