On June 27, 2024, Baker McKenzie hosted an Italian-language webinar on sanctions and geopolitical risks.  The webinar, which attracted hundreds of registrants, included sessions on EU, US, and UK sanctions developments and enforcement, led by Baker McKenzie lawyers Roberto Cursano (Rome), Riccardo Ovidi (Rome), Kerry Contini (Washington DC), and Sunny Mann (London).

The centerpiece of the webinar was a fireside chat led by Roberto Cursano with Giovanni Brignone, one of the lead officials for sanctions implementation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Filippo Mancuso, the trade compliance responsible person for Assonime (the Association of Joint-Stock Companies), a well-respected industry association in Italy.  The key points from the fireside chat portion of the webinar are summarized below.

  • Enforcement of enhanced EU anti-circumvention measures:  The new EU anti-circumvention measures in the EU’s 14th sanctions package (described in our recent blog post here) have been a major topic of discussion across the European Union.  It will be important to watch how these measures, which are quite general, will be enforced in practice.   
  • Compliance with new EU due diligence requirements:  Companies in Italy should focus on complying with new obligations on EU companies to conduct due diligence and implement controls relating to the activities of their third-country subsidiaries and counterparties.
  • Implementation of criminal penalties for sanctions in Italy:  EU Directive 2024/1226 requires EU Member States to establish criminal penalties for sanctions violations by April 2025 (see our blog post describing this EU directive here).  In Italy, this directive will likely be implemented by adding sanctions crimes to the list of crimes for which corporate entities can be penalized under Legislative Decree 231/2001.  That decree provides for an exemption from liability for companies that have implemented a compliance program.
  • Importance of compliance programs:   Given the continued expansion of EU and international sanctions against Russia, companies in Italy should assess their risk exposure and consider adopting or enhancing their written sanctions compliance program, including sanctions compliance policies and procedures.  This program should be tailored to the company’s organization, business and sanctions risks.

Roberto Cursano focuses on healthcare law and compliance, and assists in tender procedures, the negotiation of public contracts and litigation before administrative courts. He is a former administrative officer in the Italian Ministry of Health and helps clients work closely with the Italian Public Administration. He is admitted to the bar before the Italian Supreme Court and the Council of State. Roberto advises primarily on pharmaceutical and healthcare matters. These include product licensing and marketing, clinical trials, pricing and reimbursement, promotions, interactions with healthcare professionals, distribution of products, and public procurement issues. Additionally, he assists in anti-bribery matters and related investigations, and helps set up internal compliance models preventing corruption-related crimes, money laundering and corporate crimes (so-called Law 231 Models). He also advises on administrative/public law, including export control law and public procurement law.


Riccardo focuses his practice on pharmaceutical and healthcare law issues, advising on regulatory matters concerning the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and import of medicinal products and medical devices. Additionally, he assists multinational companies on a wide range of trade matters relating to the import, export, transfer, brokering and transit of controlled goods, including the obtainment of authorizations from the Italian Government for activities subject to sanctions regulations and EU export control regulations. Riccardo's practice extends to assistance in setting-up compliance programs aimed at preventing corruption-related and corporate crimes and in developing internal policies and procedures and codes of conduct.


Ms. Contini focuses her practice on export controls, trade sanctions, and anti-boycott laws. This includes advising US and multinational companies on trade compliance programs, risk assessments, licensing, review of proposed transactions and enforcement matters. Ms. Contini works regularly with companies across a wide range of industries, including the pharmaceutical/medical device, oil and gas, and nuclear sectors.