On 9 March 2022, the EU announced the imposition of further sanctions against Russia and Belarus. In addition to the introduction of new restrictions (see below), the EU press release notes that the relevant amendments aim to create a closer alignment between sanctions in place against Russia and Belarus, so as to prevent circumvention of these sanctions.
Regulation (EU) 2022/394 (amending Regulation (EU) 833/2014) among others include the following amendments:
- Introduction of new product control restrictions related to maritime navigation and radio equipment, as listed in the new Annex XVI;
- Addition of the “Russian Maritime Register of Shipping” to the list of state-owned enterprises subject to sectoral sanctions in Annex XIII to Regulation (EU) 833/2014;
- Clarification on the definition of “transferable securities”, to also explicitly include crypto-assets;
- Extension of the exemption related the acceptance of deposits exceeding EUR 100,000 (see also this previous blog post) to Swiss and EEA nationals and residents;
- Explicit reference to the Russian National Wealth Fund as an relevant entity for the prohibition on transactions related to the management of reserves as well as of assets of the Central Bank of Russia, and certain affiliated parties (see also this previous blog post);
- Introduction of an information sharing provision for EU Member States regarding granted authorizations for transactions related to goods and technology intended for maritime safety.
In addition, Regulation (EU) 2022/396 (implementing Regulation (EU) 269/2014) lists an additional 160 individuals as Designated Persons. According to the press release, these listed individuals include 14 oligarchs and prominent business people and their family members, and 146 members of the Russian Federation Council.
The purpose of the additional measures imposed against Belarus through Regulation (EU) 2022/398 (amending Regulation (EC) 765/2006) is largely similar to the financial restrictions that were recently imposed by the EU against Russia (see also our previous blog posts, here, here and here).
In short, these additional restrictions include:
- Exclusion from the SWIFT messaging system of Belagroprombank Bank Dabrabyt Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, and their Belarusian subsidiaries, as of 20 March 2022;
- Introduction of new financial restrictions prohibiting the following activities (possibly, subject to limited exceptions and carve-outs):
- Transactions related to the management of reserves or assets of the Central Bank of Belarus, and certain affiliated parties;
- Listing and provision of services on EU trading venues in relation to shares of Belarusian state-owned persons, entities or bodies, as of 12 April 2022;
- Provision of public financing or financial assistance for trade with, or investment in, Belarus;
- Acceptance of deposits exceeding EUR 100,000 from Belarusian nationals or residents or legal persons, entities or bodies established in Belarus;
- Provision of various services by EU central securities depositories for transferable securities issued after 12 April 2022 to Belarusian nationals or residents or legal persons, entities or bodies established in Belarus;
- Sale of euro denominated transferable securities issued after 12 April 2022 or certain units to Belarusian nationals or residents or legal persons, entities or bodies established in Belarus;
- Sale, supply, transfer or export of euro denominated banknotes to Belarus, a person in Belarus, or for use in Belarus.