Recent news from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control: July 20

OFAC took a number of significant sanctions actions over the last week across multiple programs:

Balkans-related Sanctions

  • OFAC Designates North Macedonian Businessman: OFAC on July 19 designated businessman, Jordan “Orce” Kamcev, of North Macedonia pursuant to Executive Order 14033, Blocking Property and Suspending Entry Into the United States of Certain Persons Contributing to the Destabilizing Situation in the Western Balkans. Kamcev has engaged extensively in corruption, including abuse of office, money laundering, and other offenses for more than a decade starting in the early 2000s. In 2022, Kamcev was convicted in a money laundering scheme linked to an illicit purchase of land. Additionally, Kamcev used his influence and wealth to manipulate North Macedonia’s judicial system in his favor. In 2020, a government official was charged for accepting a bribe from Kamcev and testified that Kamcev paid money in exchange for favorable arrest conditions and case outcomes. OFAC’s designation underscores the United States’ continued commitment to promote accountability for individuals and entities that undermine or threaten the stability of the Western Balkans through corruption and other destabilizing behavior. Read more.

Russia-related Sanctions

  • OFAC and Department of State Designate Entities and Individuals to Disrupt Russia’s Access to Battlefield Supplies and Target Revenue Generators: OFAC and the Department of State on July 20 designated a network of entities and individuals responsible for providing Russia’s access to products that support its military and war efforts. The designations are meant to inhibit Russia’s access to military products; reduce Russia’s revenue from the metals and mining sector; undermine its future energy capabilities; degrade Russia’s access to the international financial system; and starve Russia of G7-produced technology needed for its technology, aerospace, and defense sectors. The designees include a Kyrgyz Republic-based seller of electronic and telecommunication equipment; a supplier of industrial computers; an importer of electronic components; a UAE-based engineering and services company; Russian metal producer companies; a Russian Federal Research Center; and banks (Joint Stock Company Locko Bank, Joint Stock Company Petersburg Social Commercial Bank, Joint Stock Company Commercial Bank Solidarnost, JSC Tinkoff Bank and Unistream Commercial Bank JSC), among others. See the list of designees. Read more. Related to these designations, OFAC issued Russia-related General License 70, “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Joint Stock Company Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company” and Russia-related General License 71, “Authorizing the Wind Down and Rejection of Transactions Involving Certain Entities Blocked on July 20, 2023.” Read more.

Venezuela-related Sanctions

  • OFAC Issues General License 5L: OFAC on July 19 issued Venezuela-related General License 5L to authorize certain transactions related to the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. 2020 8.5 Percent Bond on or after Oct. 20, 2023. Read more.

Drug-related Sanctions 

  • OFAC Designates El Ballouti Organization and Mexican National Employed by La Nueva Familia Michoacana: OFAC on July 19 designated members of the El Ballouti Organization for international drug trafficking, including cocaine and fentanyl. OFAC designated three Belgian nationals, Younes El Ballouti, Othman El Ballouti and Youssef Ben Azza. Members of the El Ballouti Organization are part of an international criminal organization that smuggles significant quantities of cocaine via shipping containers through the Port of Antwerp in Belgium for wider distribution throughout Europe. Othman El Ballouti’s money laundering and narcotics supply chain networks are linked to businesses based in the People’s Republic of China, as well as South American cocaine suppliers, to include Ecuadorian national Wilder Emilio Sanchez Farfan, who OFAC designated in February 2022. Sanchez Farfan was arrested in Colombia in February of this year. Othman El Ballouti, Younes El Ballouti, and Youssef Ben Azza are wanted by Belgian authorities for cocaine trafficking. They are believed to be living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • In the same news release, OFAC announced the designation of Mexican national, Franco Tabarez Martinez, a narcotics trafficker operating in Guerrero, Mexico. Tabarez Martinez works in alliance with La Nueva Familia Michoacana drug trafficking organization, and distributes cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine to the United States. Read more.