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Nicholas F. Coward

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On January 16, 2020, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) released a new frequently asked question (“FAQ”) regarding Iran-related sanctions. This FAQ comes on the heels of the US Government’s recent issuance of Executive Order 13902 (“EO 13902”) on January 10, 2020, which expanded secondary sanctions to target the Iranian construction, mining, manufacturing, and textile sectors and those parties engaged in “significant transactions” or providing “material support” to any parties designated…

On November 5, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a new Venezuela-related general license (General License No. 35) (“GL 35”) to authorize certain administrative transactions with the Government of Venezuela (“GOV”) prohibited by Executive Order (“EO”) 13884 (“Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela”); issued General License No. 34A (“GL 34A”), which supersedes and replaces General License No. 34, and authorizes transactions involving certain GOV-related individuals prohibited by EO 13884; and identified five current GOV officials on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”) pursuant to EO 13884.

Then, on November 21, 2019, OFAC announced the amendment of the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations (“VSR,” 31 C.F.R. Part 591) to incorporate additional EOs; make certain clarifying changes; add a GL authorizing US Government activities; and add an interpretive provision regarding activities related to judicial processes.  The VSR regulatory amendments took effect on November 22, 2019 concurrent with their publication in the Federal Register, available here.

These Venezuela sanctions developments are described in more detail below.  Our previous blog posts about US sanctions targeting Venezuela are available here.

On November 26, 2019, the US Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) issued a highly anticipated proposed rule with proposed regulations (“Proposed Regulations”) to implement Executive Order 13873, “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain” (“Executive Order 13873“).

Executive Order 13873 gives the Secretary of Commerce (“Secretary”) sweeping, unprecedented authority to prevent or modify transactions involving information and communications technology and services (“ICTS”) originating in countries designated as “foreign adversaries” which pose an undue risk to critical infrastructure or the digital economy in the United States, or an unacceptable risk to US national security or the safety of United States persons.  All industries are potentially affected by the Proposed Regulations, whether directly or indirectly, which allow for case-by-case reviews of transactions at the Secretary’s discretion.  Any transaction that is ongoing as of, or was initiated on or after, May 15, 2019, can be reviewed and there is no mechanism by which a company may seek to clear transactions in advance.

A summary of the background and the Proposed Regulations is provided below:

On October 17, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) re-issued and amended as General License No. 13D (“GL 13D”) to continue the validity period for transactions concerning Nynas AB and its affiliates (“Nynas”), as further described below.  In addition, on October 21, 2019, OFAC re-issued as General License No. 8D (“GL 8D”) to continue the validity period certain maintenance activities involving Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (“PdVSA”) where certain entities are involved, as further described below.  Finally, on October 24, 2019, OFAC re-issued and amended as General License No. 5A (“GL 5A”) to prohibit dealings or payments for three months related to a specific PdVSA bond.  Our blog post regarding previous amendments to these GLs is available here.