● Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/606 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 4 May 2020 as well as Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/607 , which amend both Annex I to Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1716 and the Annex to Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1720 respectively.
These amendments include six (6) Nicaraguan natural persons on the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures, due to the serious situation that persists in Nicaragua with regard to the general situation of human rights and democratic governance.
These measures take the form of:
a. Preventing the persons listed in the abovementioned Annexes from entering the territories of the Member States.
b. The freezing of all funds and economic resources belonging to, or owned or held by, any of the persons referred to in the Annexes.
The persons concerned may submit a request to the Council before 1 July 2020, together with any supporting documentation, that the decision to include them on the above-mentioned lists should be reconsidered.
● Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/706 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 26 May 2020, amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) 2002/881.
This amendment adds one (1) natural person to the list of persons, groups and entities affected by the freezing of funds and economic resources as a result of his status as Head of the Islamic State.
● On 14 May 2020, Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/651 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending Decision (CFSP) 2019/797.
By amending article 10 of the above Decision, the restrictive measures against cyber-attacks threatening the European Union or its Member States are extended until 18 May 2021.
● Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/716 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 3 June 2020, as well as Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/719 , which amend both Annex II to Council Regulation (EU) 2012/36 and Annex I to Council Decision (CFSP) 2013/255 respectively.
These amendments extend the restrictive measures against the Syrian regime and its supporters until 1 June 2021, as the repression against the civilian population has not ceased.
Four (4) natural persons of Syrian nationality and one (1) Syrian entity are also removed from its list.
• On May 1, 2020, in connection with the class action lawsuit filed on January 17 against travel agencies and travel-related websites Expedia Group Inc., Hotels.com L.P., Hotels.com GP, Orbitz, LLC, Bookings.com B.V. and Booking Holdings INC. (case of Mario del Valle, Enrique Falla and Angelo Pou, as individuals and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs, Hotels.com L.P., Hotels.com GP, Orbitz, LLC, Bookings.com B.V. and Booking Holdings INC), pursuant to Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Freedom) Act of 1996 (“Helms-Burton Act”), before the Courts of the State of Florida, defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the matter on the following grounds:
a. The courts of the State of Florida do not have jurisdiction to hear this case.
b. Plaintiffs have not provided reliable proof of their title.
c. The plaintiffs did not acquire title to their property prior to the effective date of the Helms-Burton Act on March 12, 1996, as required by section 302 of Title III of that Act.
d. The activity carried out by the plaintiffs does not constitute “trafficking” in the terminology of the Helms-Burton Act, since the definition of that term, in paragraph 13, section 4 of that Act, excludes in cases of “transactions and uses of goods related to lawful trips to Cuba, to the extent that such transactions and uses of goods are necessary for the performance of such trips”.
In the aforementioned lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants “traffic” in “confiscated property” by allowing, through their web pages, to contract services in hotels built on properties confiscated by the Cuban government in 1960.
Accordingly, on May 22, 2020, the Court ordered the case closed, granting the defendants’ motions to dismiss, adding that, in addition, the plaintiffs had not sought permission to amend nor had they indicated in their response to the defendants’ motion any inclination to do so.
• On 5 May 2020, in connection with the claims brought by Havana Docks Corporation (“Havana Docks”) against the cruise lines MSC Cruises SA CO., MSC Cruises (USA) INC., Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd (cases of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd, vs. Carnival Corporation d/b/a Carnival Cruise Line and vs. Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd,.), before the Courts of the State of Florida, the defendants have requested a stay of their respective proceedings for ninety (90) days due to the complications that the current Covid-19 crisis poses for complying with the procedural deadlines in their current proceedings.
The aforementioned claims were filed by Havana Docks on 27 August 2019 against the defendants for, in the terminology of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, “trafficking” in “confiscated property” by the Cuban Government, in this case in relation to certain properties located in the Port of Havana. Both defendants objected, claiming that Havana Docks did not hold a property right to the land in question at the time it began operating on it.
In addition, on May 11, 2020, Havana Docks filed a notice of opposition to the “interlocutory appeal” filed by the defendants in their respective proceedings, before the Courts of the State of Florida. By means of them, they requested that the corresponding Court of Appeals rule on the decision to allow Havana Docks to file a corrected complaint with the aforementioned defendants.
• On May 6, 2020 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that BIOMIN America, Inc. (“BIOMIN America”), an animal nutrition company based in Overland Park, Kansas, has paid $257,862 to resolve its potential liability for apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (“CACR”).
Specifically, between approximately July 2012 and September 2017, BIOMIN America and its foreign entities engaged in the sale of a total of 30 agricultural products produced outside the United States to Alfarma S.A. in Cuba, without authorization from OFAC, which resulted in 44 apparent violations of CACR § 515.201.
• On May 11, 2020, in connection with the lawsuit filed with Amazon.com, INC. and Sushi International, INC. (“Amazon”) by Daniel A. Gonzalez (case of Daniel A. Gonzalez vs. Amazon.com, INC. and Sushi International, INC.), the Courts of the State of Florida have granted the defendant’s motion dated April 17 to dismiss the lawsuit, alleging that the plaintiff has failed to establish reliable title to the property that would entitle it to file a lawsuit under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, and that the plaintiff has failed to establish that Amazon was aware of the fact, in the terminology of the aforementioned law, “trafficked” in “confiscated property” by marketing charcoal produced on certain land located in Granma province and confiscated by the Cuban Government in 1959.
● On May 19, 2020, OFAC has added one (1) Chinese entity to the Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”) for its relationship with Iranian airline Mahan Air.
• On May 12, 2020, OFAC has revoked and archived General License No. 13E relating to Venezuela and in turn issued General License No. 3H and General License No. GL 9G, in each case to remove references to Nynas AB.
These decisions have been taken following a business restructuring by Nynas AB, which has made it possible for it to cease to be subject to blockade by reason of the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 591.
● On May 22, 2020, OFAC has added two (2) individuals of Nicaraguan nationality to the SDN List for their involvement in serious human rights violations and the deterioration of democratic governance in Nicaragua.
● On May 13, 2020, OFAC updated its guidelines for the North Korea sanctions program, adding additional information to the descriptions of 490 individuals on the SDN List in particular to explicitly warn U.S. financial institutions and their subsidiaries of the prohibition on transactions with OFAC-designated persons related to North Korea.
● On May 1, 2020, OFAC added one (1) natural person of Iranian nationality to the SDN List for being associated with the senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
● On 20 May 2020, OFAC added nine (9) Iranian individuals and three (3) Iranian entities to the SDN List under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and Executive Order 13553 which regulates the freezing of property of certain persons with respect to serious abuses of human rights by the Government of Iran.
● On May 27, 2020, the Secretary of State announced the end of the exemption from sanctions covering all nuclear projects originating from the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan (CJAP) in Iran.
Furthermore, on the same date, OFAC has added two (2) natural persons of Iranian nationality to the SDNa List for engaging or attempting to engage in activities that have contributed or are likely to contribute materially to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
● On May 1, 2020, OFAC added one (1) Omani entity to the SDN List for being owned by an Iranian individual linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
• On May 21, 2021 OFAC has published an amendment to the Zimbabwe Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R., part 541.
The amendment is intended to remove a general licence authorising all transactions involving the Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Bank and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe as a result of the removal of these entities from the SDN List.
In Madrid, June 8, 2020
Department of International Trade and Sanctions
C/ Villanueva 29, 28001 Madrid
T: +34 91 436 00 90
Av. Diagonal 520, 08006 Barcelona
T: +34 93 488 28 02