On February 28, 2022, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued a number of additional sanctions measures against Russia. The latest measures include the issuance of (i) Russia-related Directive 4 (“Directive 4“), expanding restrictions on Russian state-controlled financial instructions under the April 2021 Executive Order 14024 (“EO 14024“) and (ii) Russia-related General License No. 8A (“GL 8A“), amending and replacing previous General License No. 8. OFAC also added key Russian state-controlled financial institutions and their affiliates to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List“), and issued the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 587, to implement EO 14024.
Russia-Related Directive 4 and GL 8A
Directive 4 broadly prohibits US Persons from engaging in “any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities.” OFAC added the Directive 4 entities to the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List, which identifies persons subject to certain non-blocking sanctions.
Concurrently, OFAC issued GL 8A, adding the Central Bank of the Russian Federation to the list of entities with whom transactions “related to energy,” as defined in GL 8A, are authorized through June 24, 2022 GL 8A does not authorize any transactions prohibited by Directive 1A related to Russian sovereign debt, the opening or maintaining of correspondent or payable-through accounts for or on behalf of any entity subject to Directive 2, any debit to an account on the books of a US financial institution of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, or any other transactions involving any person blocked pursuant to EO 14024, other than those authorized under GL 8A. Our blog posts discussing Directive 1A and Directive 2 may be accessed here and here.
Additional Parties to the SDN List
OFAC also added three entities and one individual to the SDN List, the list of which is available here.
As a result of these designations, US Persons are generally prohibited from dealing directly or indirectly with SDNs, entities that are owned 50% or more by one or more SDNs, and their property or property interests. Non-US persons can be held liable for causing violations by US Persons involving SDNs and can also be subject to secondary sanctions risks (which would include, in particular, the risk of designation as an SDN themselves) for providing “material support” to SDNs.
Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations
OFAC issued the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations to implement EO 14024. OFAC intends to supplement the regulations with more comprehensive regulations, which may include additional interpretive guidance and definitions, general licenses, and other regulatory provisions. The regulations are effective March 1, 2022.
We anticipate further developments and will continue our reports.