This UPDATED post summarizes the situation as of late evening on Monday, March 7, concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. This post supplements our post of late evening on Wednesday, February 23, which is available here; our post of late evening on Thursday, February 24, which is available here; our post of late evening on Friday, February 25, which is available here; our post of late evening Monday February 28 is available here; and our post of late evening Thursday March 3, which is available here

U.S. State Department Targets Russian Defense Enterprises for Sanctions

The U.S. State Department has identified 22 Russian defense-related entities that design, develop, and produce weaponry for Russia. Each has been designated as a Specially Designated National (SDN) by the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The designated entities include companies involved in the design, development, and production of unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare, missile and missile defense systems, fighter aircraft, armored vehicles, and procurement of foreign technology for Russia’s military.

Continue Reading Russia, Ukraine: Update as of the Evening of March 7

This UPDATED post summarizes the situation as of late evening on Thursday, March 3, concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. This post supplements our post of late evening on Wednesday, February 23, which is available here, our post of late evening on Thursday, February 24, which is available here, our post of late evening on Friday, February 25, which is available here, our post of late evening Monday, February 28 available here.

Commerce Extends Russia Sanctions to Belarus

Late Wednesday, March 2, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) issued final rules to impose the same sanctions on Belarus that Commerce announced against Russia on February 24. Commerce stated it is responding to Belarus’s substantial enabling of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now, export to Belarus of all items listed in Categories 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 on the Commerce Control List requires a license; the Foreign Direct Product (FDP) rule is applied to Belarus, which will restrict access to foreign-produced items using U.S. technology; the license review policy is changed to presumption of denial; and the use of license exceptions are limited.

Continue Reading Russia, Ukraine: Update as of the Evening of March 3

There have been a relatively limited number of U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement actions in recent years. Nonetheless, two recent announcements (one resolution, one declination) by U.S. regulators underscore the importance of implementing and maintaining effective internal controls.

Continue Reading Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Enforcement Update: Q1 2022

This UPDATED post summarizes the situation as of late evening on Monday, February 28, concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. This post supplements our post of late evening on Wednesday, February 23, which is available here, our post of late evening on Thursday, February 24, which is available here, and our post of late evening on Friday, February 25, which is available here.

Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control Announces New Sanctions

On Monday, February 28, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed additional sanctions on the Central Bank of Russia, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Russian Ministry of Finance. These actions effectively freeze all assets of the Central Bank of Russia in the United States or held by a U.S. entity (such as a bank or other financial institution) or individual, wherever located.  OFAC also added the following parties to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List:

  • The Russian Direct Investment Fund.
  • Kirill Aleksandrovich Dmitriev – CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
  • Joint Stock Company Management Company of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
  • Limited Liability Company RVC Management Company.


Continue Reading Russia, Ukraine: Update as of the Evening of February 28

This UPDATED post summarizes the situation as of late evening on Friday, February 25, concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. This post supplements our post of late evening on Wednesday, February 23, which is available here, and our post of late evening on Thursday, February 24, which is available here.

As of late evening on Friday, February 25, the U.S. government announced that it is imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov along with two other senior Russian government officials.  Each of these individuals has been designated as a Specially Designated National (SDN).  Correspondingly, U.S. individuals and entities are prohibited from conducting any business with these designated parties, whether directly or indirectly.

The European Union had previously imposed sanctions on President Putin.

Continue Reading Russia, Ukraine: Update as of the Evening of February 25

This UPDATED post summarizes the situation as of late evening on Thursday, February 24, concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. This supplements our post of late evening on Wednesday, February 23, which is available here.

As of late evening on Thursday, February 24, OFAC has taken the following additional actions, as follows:

Multiple additional banks were designated as SDNs.  Most prominently, OFAC designated VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company (VTB Bank), which is reportedly Russia’s second-largest bank, along with 20 VTB Bank subsidiaries.  (Recall that any entity owned 50% or more by one or more SDN is itself an SDN, even if not specifically identified as an SDN.  In the case of a large entity such as VTB Bank, this means there may be many other entities affiliated with VTB Bank that are SDNs even though not identified on the SDN List).

Continue Reading Russia, Ukraine: Update as of the Evening of February 24

Please note that this post has been updated with information as of late evening on Thursday, February 24. Click here for the latest updates.

This post is to summarize the situation as of late evening on Wednesday, February 23, concerning current U.S. sanctions and export restrictions related to Russia and Ukraine. It is important to note that these new measures add to the existing framework of restrictions that the United States has maintained beginning in 2014 when Russia first invaded the eastern part of Ukraine. In addition, the EU, the UK, and Canada – among others – are imposing restrictions, many of which are comparable to the restrictions imposed by the United States.

The situation is likely to change quickly – and almost certainly in the direction of greater restrictions. We will provide updated guidance as the situation progresses.

Continue Reading Russia, Ukraine: Update as of the Evening of February 23

On December 23, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and TD Bank, N.A. (TD) reached a settlement to resolve TD’s violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations and the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.  On January 12, OFAC and Sojitz Hong Kong (Sojitz HK) reached a settlement agreement in connection with Sojitz’s violations of the Iranian Transaction and Sanction Regulations (ITSR).  These two resolutions, reached only a few weeks apart, serve as a reminder of OFAC’s broad remit to administer and enforce U.S. sanctions regulations.

TD Bank Violated North Korea and Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions

The United States maintains comprehensive sanctions on North Korea, and most transactions with the country and nationals of the country, wherever located, are prohibited without a license.  While a license authorizes banks in the United States to conduct certain transactions with the North Korean Mission to the United Nations, that license does not extend to maintaining accounts for employees of the North Korean Mission.

According to OFAC, TD processed 1,479 transactions and maintained nine accounts on behalf of five employees of the North Korean Mission without a license from OFAC.  OFAC noted that TD’s sanctions screening did not pick up individual employees of the government of North Korea.  OFAC also noted that TD employees apparently misclassified North Korean Mission personnel when processing passports by filling in the South Korean country code or leaving the citizenship identification field blank.

Continue Reading OFAC Enforcement Update: Settlements Show Value of Internal Controls, Disclosure

I am looking forward to presenting at the 11th Annual U.S. Export & Re-Export Compliance for Canadian Operations Virtual Conference. The conference will take place January 26-27, 2022 with pre-conference workshops on January 25, 2022. I will be presenting with John Boscariol, Partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP based in Toronto, Canada.

Our session, “Updating Your Risk-Based Economic Sanctions Compliance Program: The Latest U.S. and Canadian Restrictions, and Their Practical Impact,” will take you through the most critical economic sanctions developments and trends affecting exports and reexports. The discussion will focus on new, unanticipated pitfalls to avoid for 2022 and beyond.

  • Comparing and contrasting U.S. and Canadian sanctions-and their practical impact on export and reexport operations
  • The rapidly changing China landscape, and the impact on due diligence and supply chain risks
  • Impact of the PRC’s Foreign Anti-Sanctions Regulation and the new Blocking Statute
  • Performing due diligence amid the increased use of The Entity List
  • Iran: Status report and negotiations with Iran and what is on the horizon


Continue Reading [VIRTUAL EVENT] Updating Your Risk-Based Economic Sanctions Compliance Program: The Latest U.S. and Canadian Restrictions, and Their Practical Impact

In an article for Business Weekly Taiwan, I discussed the impact on Taiwan companies amid rising tensions between the United States and China. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently added China-based tech company Hunan Goke Microelectronics to the Entity List, one of the U.S. government lists that impose various levels of trade, travel, asset, and financial restrictions on overseas companies to help protect U.S. national security. Adding China-based companies to the Entity List or another restrictive trade list, often negatively impacts Taiwan companies who rely on trade with China.

As I recommend to Taiwan companies, it’s important to know your customer – it’s important to research fully to know the supply chain and end users of your products. I note that companies in China and anywhere, including the U.S., put a lot of their businesses on the website so you can see the types of activities that they’re engaged in. Company websites are a good starting point for researching companies and exercising due diligence.

Continue Reading Impact on Taiwanese Companies Amid Trade Situation between United States and China