On March 11, 2022, the US Government issued a number of additional sanctions measures against Russia. The latest measures include the issuance of (i) a new Russia-related Executive Order 14068, “Executive Order on Prohibiting Certain Imports, Exports, and New Investment with Respect to Continued Russian Federation Aggression” (“EO 14068”) and (ii) four new General Licenses (“GLs”) related to Russia and Ukraine. These measures include a ban on exports and sales of a range of luxury goods to complement a Department of Commerce export ban on such items imposed the same day, as reported in our earlier blog here. OFAC also added several individuals and entities to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List“). OFAC released a press release providing additional guidance related to the additional sanctions measures, available here.
- the importation into the United States of Russian-origin fish and seafood, and preparations thereof, alcoholic beverages, and non-industrial diamonds;
- the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of luxury goods as determined by the Department of Commerce (see further below) from the United States or by a US Person to any person located in Russia;
- new investments by US Persons in any sector of the Russian economy as to be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury;
- exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of US dollar-denominated banknotes from the United States or by a US Person, to the Government of Russia or any person located in Russia;
- any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a US Person of a transaction by a foreign person where such a transaction would be prohibited if performed by a US Person (for example, payment in US dollars or using a US bank to facilitate any of the above prohibited transactions).
EO 14068 also reserves power to the Commerce, State, and Treasury Departments to prohibit the import, export, or reexport of other goods, as needed and applicable.
OFAC also published several new Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) related to the New EO, which may be found here. The following points in OFAC’s new FAQs are particularly noteworthy:
- FAQ 1,027 defines the terms “Russian Federation origin,” “fish, seafood, and preparations thereof,” and “alcohol beverages” through reference to classifications in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. With respect to the prohibition on the export of luxury goods, OFAC refers to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) for guidance. As reported in our earlier blog, BIS also issued a Final Rule on March 11th amending the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to introduce a ban on exports, reexports and transfers (in-country) by any person to or within Russia (and to certain Russian/Belarussian SDNs) of certain luxury goods subject to the EAR and by reference to an extensive and detailed list of “luxury goods” by Schedule B number. These include various types of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and tobacco products, perfumes and cosmetics, handbags, artworks, fur skins, silks, carpets, clothing, sporting equipment, ceramics, jewels, precious stones and jewelry, passenger vehicles, watches, musical instruments, etc. While the EO 14068 prohibition on US Persons exporting, reexporting, selling, and supplying luxury goods links back to the luxury goods described on the Commerce Department list, it does not appear to be limited to covered luxury goods that are subject to the EAR.
- FAQ 1,024 confirms that US persons are not prohibited from finding a new buyer for and/or redirecting shipments containing prohibited goods en route to the United States to another country under EO 14068.
- FAQ 1,021 clarifies that the prohibitions of the earlier EO 14024 and other Russia-related sanctions apply regardless of whether a transaction is conducted in traditional fiat currency or virtual currency, and thus apply to virtual currency exchanges, virtual wallet hosts, and service providers of nested services for foreign exchanges, and virtual currency transactions in which blocked persons have an interest. Further, US Persons are generally prohibited from engaging in or facilitating prohibited transactions, including virtual currency transactions involving the Central Bank of Russia, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and/or the Russian Ministry of Finance.
Russia-Related General Licenses 17, 18, and 19
GL 17 authorizes transactions through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 25, 2022 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the import of Russian-origin fish, seafood, and preparations thereof, alcoholic beverages, and non-industrials diamonds pursuant to written contracts entered into prior to March 11, 2022.
GL 18 authorizes transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the transfer of US dollar-denominated banknote noncommercial, personal remittances from (i) the United States or a US person to an individual in Russia, or (ii) a US person individual located in Russia. FAQ 1,028 clarifies that GL 18 authorizes methods of payment including withdrawals of US dollar-denominated banknotes via automated teller machines and the hand carrying of US dollar-denominated banknotes.
GL 19 authorizes US person individuals located in Russia to engage in certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary for personal maintenance, including payment of housing expenses, acquisition of goods or services for personal use, payment of taxes or fees, and purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services.
Ukraine-Related GL 23
GL 23 authorizes certain activities involving the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic or Luhansk People’s Republic regions of Ukraine (“Covered Regions”). Nongovernmental organizations are authorized to engage in transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs, including providing drought and flood relief, food, nutrition, and medicine distribution, the provision of health services, assistance for vulnerable or displaced populations, including individuals with disabilities and the elderly, and environmental programs. GL 23 also authorizes certain activities to support democracy, education, non-commercial projects, and environmental and natural resource protection. This authorization extends to the processing and transfer of funds, payment of taxes, fees, and import duties, and purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services to the Covered Regions.
Additional Parties Added to the SDN List
OFAC also added 35 individuals and three entities to the SDN List, the list of which is available here. 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.
The post “US Government Imposes Sanctions Prohibiting Importation of Russian Energy Products and New Investments in the Russian Energy Sector” first published on our sanctions blog on March 14, 2022 further outlines restrictions provided under EO 14066, including import bans on Russian-origin energy. The post “BIS Imposes Export Ban on Luxury Goods to Russia and Belarus as well as Russian and Belarussian Oligarchs and Malign Actors” outlines US export restrictions of luxury goods imposed by the Commerce Department.
We anticipate further developments in the coming days and will continue our reports.