INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS OCTOBER 2020

19 de November de 2020

EUROPEAN UNION

 

RUSSIA

  • On October 15, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1481 of the Council[1] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1483 of the Council[2] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333,

As a result of these modifications one (1) Russian national has been sanctioned for their involvement with the private military business Wagner Group, of Russian origin, which has been involved in “multiple repeated violations of the arms embargo on Libya”.

  • On October 15, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1480 of the Council[3] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1483 of the Council[4] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2018/1542 and Annexes II and IV of Decision (CFSP) 2018/1544, respectively.

As a result of these sanctions six (6) individuals and one (1) entity, all of Russian nationality, were sanctioned for their involvement “in the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny”.

  • On October 23, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1536 of the Council[5] and Decision (CFSP) 2020/1537 of the Council[6] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex I of the Regulation (EU) 2019/796 and Annex of the Decision (CFSP) 2019/797,

As a result of these modifications, two (2) individuals and one (1) entity, all of Russian nationality, have been added to the list of individuals and entities subject to restrictive measures, listed in both annexes, for “carrying out a cyber-attack against the German Federal Parliament and stealing information from several Members of Parliament”.

NICARAGUA

  • On October 13, 2020, the Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1467[7] was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending article 9 of the Decision (CFSP) 2019/1720.

Within this modification it is stated that this Decision will be applicable until the 16th October 2021, subject to continuous revision in order for the Council to determine if its objectives have been fulfilled.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

  • On October 19, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1507 of the Council[8] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1509 of the Council[9] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex I of the Regulation (EU) 2005/1183 and Annex I of the Decision (CFSP) 2010/788,

As a result of these modifications, additional information has been included concerning one (1) Congolese national and one (1) armed group, both already sanctioned.

AL QAEDA/DAESH

  • On October 20, 2020, the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1516 of the Council[10] was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending article 6 of the Decision (CFSP) 2016/1693.

As a result of this modification, the restrictive measures detailed in the Decision (CFSP) 2016/1693 against individuals, groups and entities belonging to or associated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been extended until the 31st October 2021.

BURUNDI

  • On October 30, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1578 of the Council[11] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1585 of the Council[12] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex I of the Regulation (EU) 2015/1755 and article 6 of the Decision (CFSP) 2015/1573, respectively.

As a result of these modifications, the restrictive measures detailed in both annexes concerning Burundi have been extended until the 31st October 2021.

GUINEA

  • On October 26, 2020, the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1556 of the Council[13] was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending paragraph 2 of article 8 of the Decision (CFSP) 2010/638.

As a result of this modification, the restrictive measures detailed in Decision (CFSP) 2010/638 concerning Guinea have been extended until the 27th October 2021.

LIBYA

  • On October 2, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1380 of the Council[14] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1385 of the Council[15] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex III and article 17 of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (PESC) 2015/1333,

As a result of these modifications two Libyan (2) nationals have been removed. Specifically, Agila Saleh, President of the Chamber of Representatives based in Torbuk, and Nuri Abu Sahmain, ex-president of the General National Congress of Libya, which is not internationally recognised, have been removed from the list of individuals and entities subject to restrictive measures as a consequence of the conflict in Libya.

These measures have been taken as a result of Saleh’s promise to support attempts to negotiate a solution to the crisis in Libya, and the lack of any political role held by Abu Sahmain.

MOLDOVA

  • On October 30, 2020, the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1586 of the Council[16] was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending paragraph 2 of article 4 of the Decision (CFSP) 2010/573.

As a result of this modification, the restrictive measures against the leaders of the Trans-Dniéster region of the Republic of Moldova have been extended.

RWANDA

  • On October 19, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1507 of the Council8 and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1509 of the Council9 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex I of the Regulation (EU) 2005/1183 and Annex I of the Decision (CFSP) 2010/788, respectively.

As a result of these modifications, additional information has been included concerning one (1) already sanctioned Rwandan individual.

SYRIA

  • On October 13, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1473 of the Commission[17] was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending Annex I of the Regulation (EC) n. 2002/881.

As a result of this modification, one (1) Syrian national has been added to this annex, and the relevant restrictive measures have been imposed on them as a result of their relation to the entities EIIL (Daesh) and Al-Qaeda.

  • On October 13, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1463 of the Council[18] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1466 of the Council[19] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex I of the Regulation (EU) 2018/1542 and Annex and article 8 of the Decision (CFSP) 2018/1544, respectively.

This Decision states that it will be applicable until the 16th October 2021, subject to continuous revision in order for the Council to determine whether or not its objectives have been fulfilled. In both Annexes, information concerning one (1) Syrian individual from the 5000 Institute, which developed chemical weapons in Syria, has been removed from the sections “Identifying Information” and “Reasons for Inclusion on the List”.

  • On October 16, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1505 of the Council[20] and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1506[21] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex II of the Regulation (EU) 2012/36 and Annex I of the Decision (CFSP) 2013/255, respectively.

As a result of these modifications, the Council has added seven (7) Syrian nationals to these annexes as sanctioned persons. The Council has encouraged these inclusions, mentioning that ministers of the Syrian government share “responsibility for the violent repression committed by the Syrian regime against the civilian population”.

UGANDA

  • On October 19, 2020, the Regulation (EU) 2020/1507 of the Council8 and the Decision (CFSP) 2020/1509 of the Council9 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which amend Annex I of the Regulation (EU) 2005/1183 and Annex I of the Decision (CFSP) 2010/788, respectively.

As a result of these modifications, additional information has been included concerning two (2) already sanctioned Ugandan entities.

 

UNITED STATES

 

CUBA

  • On October 2, 2020, in relation to the lawsuit filed by the heirs of the founders of Banco Núñez (“Successors”) against the companies Société Générale, S.A. y BNP Paribas, S.A., the defendants have submitted a motion requesting the rejection of the claim, based on the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (“Helms – Burton Act” / “H-B Act”).

The principal allegation of the defendants is that the claim does not contain any supported argument that any of the confiscated assets have actually been used for doing business. They also mention that the fact that Banco Núñez was confiscated by Cuban nationals underscores the lack of legitimacy of their claim, since the Helms – Burton Act (“H-B Act”) requires the claimant to put forward a valid “complaint” concerning the confiscated asset and that “according to international law, such a complaint is not recognised when it concerns a domestic expropriation from the country’s own nationals”.

  • On October 7, 2020, it was published that a lawsuit had been filed the 11th of September, before the Courts of Florida by several claimants against LafargeHolcim Ltd (“LafargeHolcim”); De Ruiter Ouderlande B.V. (“De Ruiter”); Las Pailas De Cemento S.A.U. (“Las Pailas”); and an unknown subsidiary of the LafargeHolcim Group (“Unknown Subsidiary”), requesting compensation of over 270 million USD, based on the retroactivity of the H-B Act.

On the 6th August 1960 the Cuban Government decided to expropriate all properties belonging to the company Azucarera Soledas, S.A. (“Soledad”) without paying any compensation to the US owners of this company and the claimants in this current claim. The Cuban State converted the confiscated property into the Karl Marx cement plant, which uses and benefits from the confiscated property, as well as its rivers, railways, limestone and other parts of its infrastructure.

The claimants, whose demands have been certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC), are requesting from the defendants triple the total amount of the financial damages, interests, costs and fees of lawyers, as a result of their use of the confiscated property for business purposed, as established in the H-B Act.

  • On October 7, 2020, a series of statistics were published relating to the H-B Act and the demands presented under it. The following statistics are particularly noteworthy: 29 claims have been presented, of which 11 have been certified by the FCSC and 18 have not; 3 claims have now been rejected by the Courts of Appeal; more than 65 law firms have been involved; more than 189 lawyers involved; more than 10,000 legal documents presented; more than 5 million USD in billable hours of law firms; 14 countries affected; 113 claimants (some involved in multiple cases); 4 requests for collective shares; 58 defendants, some involved in multiple cases; 22 defendants from the United States, not including subsidiaries; initially 6 defendants from the Republic of Cuba, currently only 3 remain; 26 defendants not from the United States of America (USA); 8 defendants from the European Union (EU); as well as 5 businesses notified as possible defendants.
  • On October 8, 2020, a suspension of procedures has been published, which was requested on 18th September 2020, before the courts of Florida by Imperial Brands PLC (“Imperial Brands”) in relation to the claim previously filed by various descendants of Ramón Rodríguez Gutiérrez (“Rodríguez family”) against Imperial Brands; Corporación Habanos, S.A.; WPP PLC; Young and Rubicam LLC; and BCW LLC, under the H-B Act.

Imperial Brands, a British company, sought this suspension of proceedings in order to have sufficient time to obtain a response from the European Commission (EC) to their request for authorisation to act and defend themselves in this case. If the case were to proceed without Imperial having obtained this authorisation, the company would run the risk of being responsible in their home jurisdiction.

  • On October 8, 2020, the President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has announced the publication, in the coming days, of new economic measures, known as the “Tarea de Ordenamiento”, amongst which are monetary unification, pension reforms and pricing reforms. The Cuban President has explained that by eliminating the Convertible Cuban Peso (CUC) and making the Peso (CUP) the sole legal currency in Cuba, they will be able to continue to warrant bank deposits in both local and foreign currencies.

President Díaz-Canel added that although these measures do not represent a “magic solution” to the country’s economic problems, they should lead to an increase in worker productivity, and he has reassured the Cuban people that any money they currently hold, regardless of currency, will be respected. He has also announced the upcoming elimination of the “libreta de abastecimiento”, which allows Cubans to buy basic products at subsidised prices, when the “markets are in a different situation and a group of economic and financial relations advance in the country”.

  • On October 12, 2020, of the eight EU entities currently acting as defendants in procedures concerning the H-B Act, two have at this point requested authorisation from the EC to take part in these procedures.

This authorisation is requested since the Blocking Statute, Regulation (EC) n.⁰ 1996/2271 of the Council[22], from 22nd November 1996, prohibits any EU national or entity from complying with extraterritorial sanctions imposed by the USA, including the H-B Act. For this reason, the defending entities must request authorisation from the EC in order to carry on defending themselves in the proceedings taking place in the US without failing to abide by this European regulation.

  • On October 12, 2020, Mariel Container Terminal (TC Mariel), operated by PSA International Pte Ltd., (“PSA International”) reached the milestone of having handled 2 million containers (TEU) since its inauguration on 27th January 2014. This milestone forms part of TC Mariel’s contribution to the modernisation project and the economic development of Cuba, as a key element of the Special Development Zone of Mariel (Zona Especial de Desarrollo del Mariel – ZEDM). The ZEDM was inaugurated in November 2013, and provides both a production and a logistics platform.

The TC Mariel offers berths in protected waters, as well as carrying out loading operations, with a 702-metre-long dock and four Super-Post-Panamax cranes. The terminal has an annual capacity of 800,000 containers and in 2019 handled 322,000. The terminal’s modern infrastructure, as well as its qualified personnel, its advanced technology and its access channel for Panamax vessels, which is currently in the process of being dredged in order to accommodate Neopanamax vessels, have positioned the terminal as a strategic logistical centre with huge potential within the region.

  • On October 20, 2020, a notification from the Export-Import Bank of Washington (EXIM) from 22nd September was made public, stating that Cuba still owes 54 million USD, interest included, to the USA.

The first EXIM was originally established as a banking corporation from the District of Columbia by Executive Order 6581, made by Franklin D. Roosevelt on 2nd February 1934. Its aim was to “help to finance and facilitate exports and imports, and the trade of basic products between the United States and other nations, their entities and their nationals”, with the immediate purpose of offering loans to the USSR and Latin America.

On the other hand, Roosevelt created a second EXIM through Executive Order 6638, issued on 9th March 1934, with the specific aim of helping to boost trade with Cuba. In 1936 it was combined with the first when Congress transferred all obligations to the second. In this way, the EXIM has continued to carry out its functions, helping to finance and facilitate the export of assets and services from the USA when private sector moneylenders have not wanted or been able to offer funding.

The Cuban debt to the EXIM principally represents delayed quotas of loans made by the EXIM in the 1950s to US subsidiaries that were subsequently expropriated by the Cuban Government. As the years have passed without any advance made with respect to the situation doubts have inevitably formed as to whether the US is trying to recover the debt and if it will ever be repaid.

  • On October 20, 2020, John S. Kavulich published an article in Cubatrade.org on the EU’s Blocking Statute and what it means for European entities currently involved in procedures in the US concerning the H-B Act.

He starts by mentioning that the objective of the EU’s Blocking Statute and is to protect EU companies and individuals from the extraterritorial application of foreign laws and regulations in which such application is specified. Specifically this covers certain US sanctions against Iran and Cuba. This is due to the fact that the EU considers the extraterritorial application of unilateral coercive measures to be contrary to international law.

He continues by highlighting the three principal functions of the Blocking Statute. In the first instance, the Statute annuls the effect of any foreign ruling, including the rulings of courts, which lead to the enactment of these measures within the EU. Secondly, it allows EU individuals to recover liquidated damages for the losses they may have suffered as a consequence of these sanctions. Finally, it prohibits EU operators from obeying these sanctions.

However, he highlights that EU companies and individuals can request authorisation from the EC in order to obey these sanctions. If there is sufficient evidence to suggest that failure to comply would seriously threaten their interests or those of the EU, the CE may approve this authorisation, through a confidential process, before the appearance before the court.

The article concludes by mentioning that all decisions on requests for authorisation will be made after careful deliberation, in which all arguments and evidence surrounding the possible serious risk posed to the interests of the requestor(s) or the EU will be carefully considered. Ultimately, it is the EC that must decide whether to grant such authorisation with the consensus of member states, who participate through committees.

  • On October 31, 2020, an article was published in Cubatrade.org on whether the new President-elect of the USA will invite Cuba and Venezuela to participate in the 2021 Americas Summit. This question has arisen as the Summit will take place in the USA and will be hosted by the new elected President.

The article starts by explaining the argument that the inclusion of President Díaz-Canel of Cuba and President Nicolás Maduro at the summit could provoke the exertion of a collective pressure on them by other countries. It could also present collective opportunities for different countries. However, centring the attention on these countries would highlight “their underdevelopment with respect to the successes of neighbouring countries in business, economic and political-institutional matters”.

On the other hand, the existence of arguments which advocate the exclusion of both countries from the summit is acknowledged, with these arguments reflecting the widespread, although not unanimous, disagreement of the rest of the participants with their actions.

Finally, the article contrasts the possible election of either of the two candidates as US President. In the case Biden’s election being confirmed it seems likely he will be more cautious in extending invitations to President Díaz-Canel and President Maduro unless he sees opportunities for negotiation, particularly with Venezuela. It is also possible that Biden may require their participation as a condition in order to make changes to the policies in place of the Trump administration that affect these countries.

CHINA

  • On October 19, 2020, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in virtue of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act 2012 (IFCA) has added two (2) Chinese nationals and six (6) Chinese entities to the Specially Designated Nationals List (“SDN List”) “for having offered assets and services, financial support, material support or technological support to Al Qaeda”.
  • On October 29, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13846, issued on 6th August 2018, added one (1) Chinese national and five (5) Chinese entities to the SDN List “for their participation in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemical products”.

RUSSIA

  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, Title II (CAATSA), added one (1) Russian entity to the SDN List “for being a research institution of the Russian Government connected to the destructive malware of Triton”.

NICARAGUA

  • On October 9,2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13851, issued on 27th November 2018, added two (2) individuals and one (1) entity, all of Nicaraguan nationality, to the SDN List as officials of the Nicaraguan Government, as well as a financial institution, for having contributed to the situation of corruption and violent repression in Nicaragua.

AUSTRALIA

  • On October 19, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations (SDGT), added one (1) Australian individual and one (1) Australian entity to the SDN List “for having helped, sponsored or offered financial, material or technological support, or assets and services to Al Qaeda”.

BELARUS

  • On October 6, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13405, issued on 16th June 2006, added eight (8) Belarussian nationals to the SDN List “for their roles in the fraudulent presidential elections which took place in the country on 9th August 2020, or in the subsequent repression of protesters”.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) and the SDGT, added two (2) Emirati entities to the SDN List “for their financial support to the sanctioned Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the IFSR and the SDGT, added one (1) Emirati entity, controlled by Mahmoud Madanipour, to the SDN List “for the sale of Iranian petrol to the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela”.

HONDURAS

  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the IFSR and the SDGT, added one (1) vessel with the Honduran flag to the SDN List “for belonging to sanctioned Iranian entities which provide financial support to the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.

INDIA

  • On October 29, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13846, published on 6th August 2018, added one (1) Indian national to the SDN List “for their participation in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemical products”.

IRAN

  • On October 8, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13902, published on 10th January 2010, added seventeen (17) Iranian entities to the SDN List as banks that operate in the Iranian financial sector and “illicitly access the US dollar”.
  • On October 22, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13848, published on 12th September 2018, added five (5) Iranian entities to the SDN List “for having sponsored, hidden, been an accomplice in, or directly or indirectly participated in interference in the 2020 US Presidential Elections”.
  • On October 22, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue the IFSR, added one (1) Iranian national to the SDN List as a general of the sanctioned Quds Force, as well as being ambassador of this unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq.
  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the IFSR and the SDGT, added seven (7) Iranian nationals and six (6) Iranian entities to the SDN List “for their financial support to the sanctioned Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the IFSR and the SDGT, added one (1) Iranian national, Mahmoud Madanipour, to the SDN List “for the sale of Iranian petrol to the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela through the entities under his control”.
  • On October 29, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13846, published on 6th August 2018, added three (3) Iranian nationals and four (4) Chinese entities to the SDN List “for their participation in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemical products”.

IRAQ

  • On October 8, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13902, published on 10th January 2020, added one (1) Iraqi entity to the SDN List for being controlled by a sanctioned Iranian bank.

LEBANON

  • On October 22, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the SDGT, added two (2) Lebanese individuals to the SDN List as generals belonging to the Central Council of Hezbollah.

PANAMA

  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the IFSR and the SDGT, added one (1) vessel with the Panamanian flag to the SDN List for belonging to a sanctioned Iranian entity “which provides financial support to the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps”.

UNITED KINGDOM

  • On October 26, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of the IFSR and the SDGT, added two (2) British entities, controlled by Mahmoud Madanipour, to the SDN List “for the sale of Iranian petrol to the illegitimate Maduro regime in Venezuela”.

SINGAPORE

  • On October 29, 2020, the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13846, published on 6th August 2018, added one (1) Singaporean entity to the SDN List for their participation in the purchase and sale of Iranian petrochemical products.

US PERSONS

  • On October 1, 2020, the OFAC announced an agreement, for a total value of 5,864,860 USD, with Generali Global Assistance, Inc. (GGA), a New York based travel assistance company. GGA has agreed to settle its possible civil responsibility for 2,593 apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR).

GGA intentionally referred payments concerning Cuba to its Canadian subsidiary, thus avoiding directly processing payments of refunds to Cuban parties and travellers whilst they were in Cuba. Subsequently, GGA reimbursed its Canadian subsidiary for these payments. Additionally, GGA formally codified this process of indirect payments in its manual of procedures. The OFAC has concluded that the actions described in this case were carried out voluntarily and that the events described constitute a “serious case”.

  • On October 20, 2020, the OFAC announced an agreement, for a total value of 4,144,651 USD, with Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (“Berkshire”), the parent company of a multinational conglomerate, with its headquarters in Omaha (Nebraska), and its foreign subsidiary Iscar Kesici Takim Ticareti ve Imalati Limited Sirket (“Iscar Turkey”).

Berkshire, both in its own name and in that of its Turkish subsidiary, has agreed to resolve its possible civil responsibility for 144 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). Specifically, between December 2012 and January 2016, Iscar Turkey exported 144 deliveries of sharp cutting tools, for a total value of 383,443 USD, to two Turkish distributors, knowing that those products would be sent to a distributor in Iran for resale to Iranian users. Amongst these final users were several bodies of the Government of Iran.

The OFAC concluded that Berkshire voluntarily committed these apparent violations in the name of Iscar Turkey, and that these violations constitute a “serious case”.

 

 

UNITED KINGDOM

 

BELARUS

  • On September 29, 2020, the British Government, by virtue of The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations (“GHRSR”), published on 6th July 2020, added eight (8) Belarussian nationals to the UK Sanctions List (“UKSL”) for “human rights violations in Belarus following the rigged elections”.

As a result of this inclusion they will be subject to the freezing of assets and a travel ban.