INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS SEPTEMBER 2020

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EUROPEAN UNION

TURKEY

  • On 21st September 2020 the Implementation Regulation (EU) 2020/1309 of the Council[1] and the Decision (PESC) 2020/1310 of the Council[2] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which modify Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (PESC) 2015/1333, respectively.

Through these modifications one restrictive measure is imposed, specifically the freezing of funds, on one (1) Turkish organisation for its implication in the violation of the arms embargo placed on Libya by the United Nations.

JORDAN

  • On 21st September 2020 the Implementation Regulation (EU) 2020/1309 of the Council and the Decision (PESC) 2020/1310 of the Council were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which modify Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (PESC) 2015/1333, respectively.

Through these modifications one restrictive measure is imposed, specifically the freezing of funds, on one (1) Jordanian organisation for its implication in the violation of the arms embargo placed on Libya by the United Nations.

KAZAKHSTAN

  • On 21st September 2020 the Implementation Regulation (EU) 2020/1309 of the Council and the Decision (PESC) 2020/1310 of the Council were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which modify Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (PESC) 2015/1333, respectively.

Through these modifications one restrictive measure is imposed, specifically the freezing of funds, on one (1) Kazakh organisation for its implication in the violation of the arms embargo placed on Libya by the United Nations.

LIBYA

  • On 21st September 2020 the Implementation Regulation (EU) 2020/1309 of the Council and the Decision (PESC) 2020/1310 of the Council were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which modify Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (PESC) 2015/1333, respectively.

Through these modifications restrictive measures are imposed on two (2) Libyan nationals, responsible for having committed human rights abuses in Libya

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • On 22nd September 2020 the Implementation Regulation (EU) 2020/1311 of the Council[3] and the Decision (PESC) 2020/1312 of the Council[4] were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which modify Annex III of the Regulation (EU) 2016/44 and Annexes II and IV of the Decision (PESC) 2015/1333, respectively.

These modifications prohibit the sale of arms with a calibre of 14.5mm, and all related to their use, as well as arms not considered by any of the EU’s rulings that impose restrictions on the Central African Republic.

UNITED STATES

CUBA

  • On 1st September 2020, with relation to the claim presented by Havana Docks Corporation (“Havana Docks”) against the company Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd (“Norwegian”), the Court has passed an order denying a new motion presented by the defendant. In said motion, Norwegian requested from the judge the rejection of the claim, based on the retroactivity of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (“Helms – Burton Act”/”H-B Act”). They consider that the H-B Act was not in effect during the period in which they performed their activities in Cuba.

The judge stated that the arguments of Norwegian were not supported by the law and were in fact the result of an incorrect reading of it, given that the Helms – Burton Act (“H-B Act”) was in effect ever since its enactment in 1996, and that the only thing that was in suspension until May 2019 was the right to file a claim under the protection of said law. Furthermore, the judge added that the defendant knew this fact, as did the other organisations that had economic activities in Cuba, and that, despite that, they proceeded with their activities.

  • On 5th September 2020, in relation to the claim presented by Javier García-Bengochea against Carnival Corporation (Javier García-Bengochea vs. Carnival Corporation case), it has come to light that on 18th August Javier García-Bengochea presented an appeal to the Court of Appeals of the United States (US) for the 11th District. Said appeal had been filed after the District Court of the US, for the South District of Florida, found in the favour of Carnival Corporation on 9th July. This court declared that Mr. Bengochea, on having inherited after the enactment of the H-B Act, was not in a legal position to claim under the protection of said law.

From the claim, the only results that have emerged are the plaintiff claiming compensation for 12 million dollars (USD) and the issue that was put before the court. This issue concerns whether the H-B Act provides any solution for US nationals who, after the 12th March 1996, inherited properties confiscated by the Castro regime before 12th March 1996. The rest of the issues to be put forward will be included in the principal report on the appeal that the plaintiff must produce.

  • On 5th September 2020, in relation to the case of Marlene Cuerto Iglesias and Miriam Iglesias Álvarez, both individuals, vs Pernod Ricard, Public Société Anonyme, it came to light that on 31st August 2020 the plaintiffs Marlene Cuerto Iglesias and Miriam Iglesias Álvarez made a second claim, amended on the basis of the H-B Act. Said second claim is a consequence of the dismissal of the first by the Court for a procedural defect, specifically the lack of personal jurisdiction, rectifiable for a period of fourteen (14) days.
  • On 8th September 2020, in relation to the claim presented by North American Sugar Industries Incorporated (“American Sugar”) against the companies Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. (“Goldwing”), Ltd., Goldwind International Holdings (HK) Ltd., DSV Air & Sea Inc., BBC Chartering USA LLC (“BBC Chartering USA”), and BBC Chartering Singapore PTE Ltd. (“BBC Chartering Singapore), based on the H-B Act, two parties have requested, through a motion, the rejection of the claim due to the lack of personal jurisdiction of the Courts of Florida.

The defendants BBC Chartering USA and BBC Chartering Singapore, represented by the same lawyers, consider that the Court cannot exercise its general personal jurisdiction given that none of them are based or have their headquarters in Florida. They also emphasise that it is the precedent of the US Supreme Court of Justice that courts will only exercise general personal jurisdiction over those organisations based in, or with their headquarters in, the state of the court, except in certain exceptional circumstances. The defendants conclude that these exception circumstances have not been, and cannot be, alleged in the claim and that, as a result of this, the court lacks general personal jurisdiction.

  • On 9th September 2020 an interview was published in the Miami Herald with John Kerry, former Secretary of State in the Obama administration and ex-assessor of the policies of Biden. In said interview Mr Jerry has admitted to feeling a “bit of disappointment” concerning the actions of Cuba in the years following the normalisation of relations established under Obama. Furthermore he mentioned that the sanctions imposed by Trump should be reversed, adding that a Biden presidency will probably “reinvigorate” the US’s human rights policies in Cuba.

These declarations have been seen by journalists as an attempt by Kerry to improve Biden’s support amongst Cuban-Americans, primarily living in Miami, in order to win the State of Florida. Currently, according to the polls, Trump currently leads Biden by around 38 percent in the Cuban-American vote. Similar voting intentions have been found in the State of Florida, which highlights the importance of the Cuban-American vote as a decisive factor in the presidential race.

  • On 12th September 2020 Mr. Mauricio Claver-Carone was appointed as the new president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He will occupy the position for the next five (5) years. The media emphasise that Claver-Carone will use the platform of the IDB to work closely with the leaders and individual members of the Organisation of American States (OAS), with the aim of strengthening the interaction with the Republic of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, at the same time as policies that penalise the leadership of said countries are promoted.
  • On 14th September 2020, in relation to the case of Havana Docks Corporation vs. Carnival Corporation D/B/A Carnival Cruise Lines, the motion presented by Carnival Corporation, requesting the dismissal of the amended claim, has been rejected. The principal argument of Carnival Corporation was that the damage is not concrete, given that the property in question was initially confiscated by the Cuban Government and, therefore, the plaintiff cannot have been affected by its later use.

The court responded by mentioning that the damage could have its origin in the confiscation, but the defendant at no point explains how the continued use of the property in question makes the damage done to the plaintiff less tangible in the present day. Furthermore, the court spoke in detail about how the damage to Havana Docks Corporation (“Havana Docks”) is “real”, given that the organisation is not receiving the benefits of its stake in the property in question. The subsequent traffic of Carnival Corporation in the confiscated property has also undermined the right of the plaintiff to compensation for that expropriation. For these reasons, the court concludes that the damage suffered by the plaintiff is “concrete, specific and imminent” and, for that, they must continue the process.

  • On 23rd September 2020 the OFAC amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) with the aim of continuing to implement the foreign policy aim of President Donald Trump to deny the Cuban regime sources of income. The changes restrict lodging in certain properties in Cuba, identified in the new Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List; the importing of alcohol or tobacco products with Cuban origin; the attendance or organisation of professional meetings or conferences in Cuba, as well as the participation in and organisation of certain public performances, clinics, workshops, competitions and exhibitions in Cuba. These amendments will enter into force when the Federal Register is published.
  • On 29th September 2020, in relation to the claim presented by Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon Mobil”) against the companies Corporación CIMEX S.A., (Cuba), Corporación CIMEX S.A. (Panama) and Unión Cuba-Petróleo (“CUPET”), to a federal court in Washington DC, the plaintiff has invoked a Memorandum of Law in opposition to the request for the dismissal of the claim by the defendants.

The principal argument of Exxon Mobil is that the defendants, by admitting that they are trading in the confiscated property, cannot maintain their argument that they have sovereign immunity, according to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). This is due to the fact that the FSIE applies whenever it does not contradict the H-B Act, in which case the latter is applied. For this, as commerce in confiscated property is included in the H-B Act, these circumstances represent an exception to the aforementioned immunity. They also allege that, if the court does not consider this exception to be applicable, both the exception of commercial activity as well as the exception of expropriation of the FSIA would continue to concur and, therefore, the defendants cannot claim immunity.

  • On 30th September 2020 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), by virtue of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, added one (1) individual of Cuban nationality for being the leader of GAESA, a Cuban military conglomerate “which helps to finance the Cuban regime and participates in interference in Venezuela”.

CHINA

  • On 3rd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of the Executive Order 13846, of 6th August 2018, added to the Specially Designated Nationals List (“SDN List”) two (2) Chinese nationals and six (6) Chinese organisations for participating in important transactions concerning the purchasing, acquiring, sale, transport or commercialisation of petrol, as well as petrol-derived products, coming from Iran, with knowledge of their origin.

RUSSIA 

  • On 10th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of the Executive Order 13848, from 12th September 2018, added three (3) Russian nationals to the SDN List for trying to interfere in the electoral process of the US.
  • On 16th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of the Executive Order 13694, from the 1st April 2015, and the Executive Order 13757, from the 28th December 2016, added two (2) Russian nationals to the SDN List for their participation in a sophisticated phishing campaign in 2017 and 2018.

Said campaign was directed towards customers of two service providers of virtual assets with headquarters in the US and abroad, and lead to combined losses of at least 16.8 million USD.

  • On 23rd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of the Executive Order 13694, from 1st April 2015, and the Executive Order 13757, from 28th December 2016, added seven (7) Russian nationals and two (2) Russian organisations to the SDN List for their collaboration in order to promote the influence of Russia in the Central African Republic.

          VENEZUELA

  • On 4th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13692, from 8th March 2015, added four (4) Venezuelan nationals to the SDN List for their implication in “helping the illegitimate Maduro regime to undermine the independence and the democratic regime of Venezuela”.
  • On 22nd September 2020 the OFAC added five (5) Venezuelan nationals to the SDN List “accused of collaborating with the Government of Nicolás Maduro in order to undermine democracy in the South American country”.

CAMBODIA

  • On 15th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13818, from 20th December 2017, added one (1) Cambodian organisation, controlled by the People’s Republic of China, to the SDN List, for the confiscation and demolition of the lands of local Cambodians for the construction of the development project of Dara Sakor.

         NORTH KOREA

  • On 1st September 2020 the State Department of the US, Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the OFAC published a joint warning in order to alert people globally of the activities concerning the acquisition of ballistic missiles in North Korea. In this warning they identified the principle military supply organisations of North Korea, and the deceitful techniques employed for the support and operation of their ballistic missiles programme.

The motive of this warning is to provide those interested in the both the US and global ballistic missile industries with knowledge of these activities and techniques, so that they can apply the necessary controls in order to ensure compliance with the relevant national and multinational legal requirements, as well as limit the risk of being sanctioned.

         INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

  • On 30th September 2020 the OFAC announced that the International Court-Related Sanctions Regulations is ready to be published, in order to apply Executive Order 13928, through which they can sanction members and officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC), in accordance with the authorities delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury in Executive Order 13928.

         UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • On 3rd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13846, from 6th August 2018, added three (3) Emirati organisations to the SDN List for their participation in important transactions concerning the purchase, acquisition, sale, transportation or commercialisation of petrol, as well as petrol-derived products, coming from Iran, with a knowledge of the origin of these products.

         FINLAND

  • On 23rd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13694, from 1st April 2015, and Executive Order 13757, from 28th December 2016, added one (1) Finnish national and four (4) Finnish organisations to the SDN List for helping to provide material and technological support to the Russian Federal Security Service.

         GAMBIA

  • On 2nd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13928, from 11th June 2020, added one (1) Gambian national to the SDN List for their connection to the sanctioned International Criminal Court (ICC)

          EQUATORIAL GUINEA

  • On 15th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13818, from 20th December 2017, added one (1) Equatorial Guinean national, who was the former first lady of Zambia and is currently still married to the sanctioned ex-president Yahya Jammeh, to the SDN List.

This measure was imposed as a result of her having helped, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support and/or goods or services to Jammeh, who illegally withdrew at least 50 million dollars of Gambian state funds.

         IRAN

  • On 3rd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13846, from 6th August 2018, added one (1) Iranian national and two (2) Iranian organisations to the SDN List for participating in important transactions concerning the purchase, acquisition, sale, transportation or commercialisation of petrol, as well as petrol-derived products, coming from Iran, with knowledge of their origin.
  • On 17th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13553, from 28th September 2010, added forty-five (45) Iranian nationals and two (2) Iranian organisations to the SDN List for their relation to the organisation Hezbollah.
  • On 21st September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) and of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulators (NPWMD), added eleven (11) Iranian nationals and two (2) Iranian organisations to the SDN List for collaborating and participating in the development of ballistic and nuclear weapons in Iran.
  • On 24th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA), added two (2) Iranian nationals and four (4) Iranian organisations to the SDN List (without specifying the reason).

         LESOTHO

  • On 2nd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13928, from 11th June 2020, added one (1) Lesothan national to the SDN List for their connection to the sanctioned ICC.

         LEBANON

  • On 8th September 2020 the OFAC added two (2) Lebanese nationals, who were part of the Government of Lebanon, to the SDN List, for providing material support to Hezbollah and becoming involved in corrupt practices.
  • On 17th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13553, from 28th September 2010, added one (1) Lebanese national and two (2) Lebanese organisations to the SDN List for their relation to the terrorist organisation Hezbollah.

         UNITED KINGDOM

  • On 15th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13818, from 20th December 2017, added one (1) British organisation to the SDN List. This organisation is controlled by Ashraf Seed Ahmed Al-Cardinal, a South-Sudanese businessman sanctioned for “his participation in bribery, illegal commissions and fraud in certain acquisitions alongside high-ranking civil servants of the South Sudanese government”.

         CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

  • On 23rd September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13694, from 1st April 2015, and Executive Order 13757, from 28th December 2016, added one (1) Central African organisation to the SDN List for their participation in order to promote the influence of Russia in the Central African Republic.

         SYRIA

  • On 30th September 2020 the OFAC added six (6) Syrian nationals and thirteen (13) Syrian organisations to the SDN List, for being the principal facilitators of the Assed regime. They are associated with the Fourth Division of the Syrian Arab Army, the General Management of Syrian Intelligence and the Central Bank of Syria.

         UKRAINE

  • On 10th September 2020 the OFAC, by virtue of Executive Order 13848, from 12th September 2018, added one (1) Ukrainian national to the SDN List for attempting to interfere in the electoral process of the US. The OFAC added that this individual, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, is a Russian agent who has been active for a decade, and who maintains close connections to the Russian secret services.

US PERSONS

  • On 9th September 2020 the OFAC announced two agreements for a total of 583,100 USD with Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (“DBTCA”). The agreements resolve the OFAC’s investigations into apparent violations of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations.

First, the DBTCA has agreed to pay 157,000 USD for the carrying out of a payment, through the US, which implicated a share of a sanctioned Cypriot company. At the moment of processing the payment, DBTCA did not carry out sufficient Due Diligence in order to determine if the share of said company in the payment had been eliminated.

Secondly, the DBTCA had agreed to pay 425,600 USD for the processing of payments destined for the accounts of a sanctioned financial institution. The DBTCA did not stop the 61 payments being carried out as they had not included the Business Identifier Code (BIC) from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) of the sanctioned financial institution in their sanctions selections tool.  Therefore the DBTCA’s selection tool was calibrated in a way that only an exact coincidence with a sanctioned entity would trigger a new manual examination.

The OFAC determined that neither case was voluntarily self-disclosed to the OFAC, and that the apparent violations constitute non-egregious cases.

  • On 17th September 2020 the OFAC announced an agreement, for a total of 894,111 USD, with Comtech Telecommunications Corporation (“Comtech”) and its subsidiary Comtech EF Data Corporation (“EF Data). Comtech, a business specialising in the sale of systems, IT programs and advanced communications services, has agreed to resolve its possible civil responsibility for four apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (SSR).

Specifically, between June 2014 and October 2015, Comtech, through their subsidiary EF Data, exported a satellite team and offered services to an organisation controlled by the Government of Sudan, in apparent violation of the SSR. The OFAC concluded in their statement that Comtech voluntarily revealed the apparent violations, and that these violations constituted an egregious case.

  • On 24th September 2020 the OFAC announced an agreement, for a total value of 473,157 USD, with Keysight Technologies Inc. (“Keysight”), a company with their headquarters in Santa Rosa, California, as the successor entity to Anite Finland OY (“Anite”) with headquarters in Finland, who design and sell testing and measuring kits, as well as related software products, to the wireless industry.

Keysight has agreed to settle its possible civil responsibility for the exportation on the part of Anite of goods that incorporate ten percent or more of the controlled content exported from the US, and would be subject to the licence requirements of the US for exportation or re-exportation to Iran, by virtue of the Export Administrations Regulations (EAR), as they were aware that these goods were destined for final users in Iran. The actions of Anite therefore constitute six apparent violations. The OFAC concluded in their statement that Keysight voluntarily revealed the apparent violations and that these violations constituted an egregious case.

Madrid, 14th October 2020

Department of International Trade and Sanctions

More Information:

C/ Villanueva 29, 28001 MadridT: +34 91 436 00 90

Av. Diagonal 520, 08006 BarcelonaT: +34 93 488 28 02


[1] Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1309, of 21 September 2020, implementing Article 21(2) of Regulation (EU) 2016/44 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya.

[2] Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/1310, of 21 September 2020, implementing Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya.

[3] Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1311, of 21 September 2020, amending Regulation (EU) N. º 2014/224 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in the Central African Republic.

[4] Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1312, of 21 September 2020, amending Decision (CFSP) 2013/798 concerning restrictive measures against the Central African Republic.

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