Russia and Belarus Sanctions Update – March 11, 2022

Key Takeaways:

  • The Biden administration has announced a ban on imports of Russian energy products and a ban on new investments in the Russian energy sector.
  • The new general license provides a wind-down period until April 22, 2022 for the import of some energy from Russia, in accordance with the agreement entered into before March 8, 2022.
  • The EU and the United Kingdom have expanded their sanctions against Russia and Belarus, including additional sanctions on alligators.
  • Finsen has issued a warning to all financial institutions to be vigilant against attempts to circumvent broad sanctions and other sanctions related to the invasion of Ukraine.

________________________________________________________________

I. The Biden administration imposes import and investment sanctions on Russian energy

On March 8, 2022, the Biden administration announced its much-anticipated embargo on imports of Russian oil and other energy-related products, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Executive Order (“EO”) 14066 Prohibited:

  1. Import of “crude oil”; Petroleum; Petroleum fuels, oils and their distillation products; Liquefied natural gas; Coal and coal products “originated in the Russian Federation.
  2. New investment by US people in the energy sector of the Russian Federation. The US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has provided guidelines that the “energy sector” includes “purchasing, exploration, extraction, drilling, mining, harvesting, production, refining, liquefaction, gasification, restructuring, conversion.” , Petroleum, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, natural gas liquids, or other products capable of producing petroleum products or energy, such as enrichment, manufacture or transportation, development, production, nuclear, electric, thermal And the production, transmission or exchange of energy in any way, including renewable.
  3. Any approval, financing, benefit or guarantee by any U.S. person, wherever it may be, any transaction by a foreign person where performed by a U.S. person or within the United States, will be prohibited by that foreign person.

The OFAC has issued FAQ guidelines to clarify that restrictions on new investments in the Russian energy sector under EO 14066 do not apply to energy sector activity beginning before March 8, 2022. Furthermore, OFAC has also made it clear that transactions have been made to release existing commitments. Comply with EO 14066 or redirect to shipment-in-process is not prohibited. In addition, OFAC has issued a new General License 16, which approves all transactions for the importation of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum fuels, oils and their distilled, liquefied natural products from Russia between April 22, 2022. Gas, coal and coal products as per written agreement or agreement before March 8, 2022.

Also, General License 8A authorizes certain “energy-related” transactions involving certain authorized Russian financial institutions, including the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, Venezuekonombank, the public joint stock company Bank Financial Corporation Otkbank, , Public Russian Joint Stock Company Sberbank, VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, and the Central Bank of the Russian Federation will be in effect until June 24, 2022. However, this general license does not allow any transaction prohibited by EO 14066

2. Expansion of EU and UK sanctions

The United Kingdom and the European Union have announced new sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs and extending existing sanctions programs. On March 9, 2022, the EU announced wide-ranging new sanctions targeting Belarus’ financial sector, as well as export controls directed at the Russian maritime and shipping industry, and a new round of sanctions on Russian individuals.

In addition to the 146 members of the Council of the Russian Federation, the following fourteen oligarchs and prominent businessmen were approved by the EU:

  • Alexander Pompianski;
  • Alexander Vinokuruv;
  • Andrei Melnichenko;
  • Dmitry Pompianski;
  • Dmitry Majepin;
  • Galina Pompianskaya;
  • Mikhail Osivsky;
  • Mikhail Palubovarinov;
  • Sergei Kulikov;
  • Vadim Moshkovich;
  • Vladimir Kirienko;
  • Andrei Guriev;
  • Dmitry Konov; And
  • Nikita Dmitrievich.

Similarly, on 10 March 2022, the United Kingdom announced the seizure of UK-based assets and banned transactions with seven oligarchs:

  • Roman Abramovich;
  • Oleg Deripaska;
  • Eger Sechin;
  • Andre Costin,
  • Alexei Miller;
  • Nikolai Tokarev; And
  • Dmitry Lebedev.

III. New FinCEN alert calls for increased vigilance against Russian sanctions evasion efforts

On March 7, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a warning to all financial institutions to be vigilant against attempts to circumvent the broad sanctions and other sanctions imposed on Ukraine. FinCEN stressed that financial institutions have an obligation to quickly report suspicious activity that could be linked to potential sanctions evasion and highlighted various red flags (including the use of shell companies or third parties for unclear ownership). Precautions include reminders describing good appropriate diligence practices and reporting expectations across multiple agencies, including overlapping jurisdictions. FinCEN emphasizes the higher risks posed by virtual currency transactions as part of the sanctions evasion process, and underscores previous guidelines on Russian ransomware attacks and other cybercrime.

In the case of Ukraine, Foley Hog will continue to provide updates as the situation improves. Organizations that have questions about these activities or how to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions and export control regulations should contact a member of the Foley Hog Trade Prohibition and Export Control Practice. For information on previous Russia-related activities, see our previous customer alerts issued on March 7, March 1, February 28 and February 17.

Copyright © 2022, Foley Hoag LLP. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.