On April 15, 2018, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued an order activating a suspended denial order (the “Order”) concerning ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. (collectively, “ZTE” or the “Company”). In explaining the activation, BIS described repeated misleading or false statements made to the US Government both before and since a March 2017 settlement agreement concerning violations of the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) (“Settlement Agreement’). More information on the ZTE investigation and the Settlement Agreement can be found in our previous posts here and here.
On March 15, 2018, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added 14 individuals and one entity, the so-called Russian “troll farm” Internet Research Agency LLC (“IRA”), to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”). OFAC announced a total of 24 designations against persons pursuant to Executive Order (“EO”) 13694 (issued April 1, 2015 and amended December 29, 2016), which is the “Cyber EO” that targets certain “malicious cyber-enabled activities,” and pursuant to Section 224 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”) , which specifically targets cyber actors who operate on behalf of the Russian government. Nine of the 24 persons identified in OFAC’s announcement were already included on the SDN List. Please see our prior blog post on CAATSA here and prior blog posts on the Cyber EO and its amendment here, here, and here.
On January 29, 2018, the US Treasury Department (“Treasury”) delivered five reports to Congress, as required under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (“CAATSA”). Please see our prior blog post on CAATSA here. Among these reports was a list identifying Russian senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities pursuant to CAATSA Section 241. This report was released during the same week that other CAATSA sanctions targeting Russia have gone into effect.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) announced final rules effective November 9, 2017, implementing the National Security Presidential Memorandum (“NSPM“) “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba,” signed by President Trump on June 16, 2017. These final rules are available here and here. Concurrent with the announcement of the final rules, OFAC and BIS each issued new and updated Cuba FAQs (available here and here). OFAC also issued a Fact Sheet explaining the amendments resulting from its Final Rule.