OFAC took a number of significant sanctions actions over the last week across multiple programs:
- OFAC Imposes Sanctions on Russian Elites and a Russian Business Association: OFAC on Aug. 11 issued a new round of sanctions targeting prominent members of Russia’s financial elite, as well as a Russian business association. The four individuals include Petr Olegovich Aven, Mikhail Maratovich Fridman, German Borisovich Khan, and Alexey Viktorovich Kuzmichev, all of whom have served on the supervisory board of the Alfa Group Consortium, one of the largest financial and investment conglomerates in Russia. These individuals were previously sanctioned by Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Read more.
- OFAC Issues FAQ 1131: OFAC on Aug. 11 published Russia-related Frequently Asked Question 1131 to clarify if LETTERONE HOLDINGS S.A. (LetterOne) is blocked as a result of the designation of Petr Olegovich Aven, Mikhail Maratovich Fridman, German Borisovich Khan, and Alexey Viktorovich Kuzmichev. Read the FAQ.
- OFAC Issues General License 13F: OFAC on Aug. 10 issued Russia-related General License 13F to authorize through Nov. 8, 2023 certain transactions prohibited by Directive 4 under Executive Order 14024, Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, provided such transactions are ordinarily incident and necessary to the day-to-day operations in the Russian Federation of such U.S. persons or entities. Read more.
- OFAC Expands Sanctions on Belarusian Regime: OFAC on Aug. 9 designated eight individuals and five entities, and identified one aircraft as blocked property. OFAC’s action is the U.S. government’s response to the three-year anniversary of the Belarusian authorities’ falsification of the August 2020 presidential election and their government’s crackdown on the Belarusian protest movement. OFAC is targeting three state-owned enterprises, the director and a subsidiary of one of the SOEs, one government of Belarus agency and four of its employees, three individuals facilitating sanctions evasion in support of Lukashenka’s regime, and one aircraft identified as blocked property. OFAC’s action is taken along with the United States’ partners and allies, further highlighting the unified view that Belarus’s prolonged subjugation of its people and its continued support of Russia’s war against Ukraine remain a global concern. Read more.
- Related to this action, OFAC issued Belarus General License 8 “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Joint Stock Company Byelorussian Steel Works Management Company of Holding Byelorussian Metallurgical Company” and Belarus General License 9 “Authorizing Transactions Related to Civil Aviation Safety or the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Open Joint Stock Company Belavia Belarusian Airlines”.
- OFAC Issues Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Syria: OFAC on Aug. 8 issued OFAC Compliance Communique: Guidance for the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Syria in response to questions from non-governmental organizations and the public on how to provide humanitarian assistance to Syria while complying with OFAC sanctions. In the same announcement, OFAC announced that it amended Syria Frequently Asked Question 937 to clarify what is authorized by General License at §542.516 of the Syrian Sanctions Regulations with respect to NGOs. Read the guidance.
Corruption and Human Rights Abuse Designations
- OFAC Designates Former Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank: OFAC, in coordination with the United Kingdom and Canada, designated the former governor of Lebanon’s central bank, Riad Salameh, whose corrupt and unlawful actions have contributed to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon. Salameh abused his position of power to enrich himself and his associates by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars through layered shell companies to invest in European real estate. OFAC also designated four close associates of Salameh, including members of Salameh’s family and his primary assistant, who helped to conceal and facilitate this corrupt activity. Read more.
- OFAC Designates Sinaloa Cartel Members: OFAC on Aug. 9 designated three Sinaloa Cartel members involved in the illicit trafficking of fentanyl and other deadly drugs. OFAC designated Alfonso Arzate Garcia and his brother, Rene Arzate Garcia, who manage the cartel’s drug trafficking operations in Tijuana and the surrounding municipalities, and are involved in importing large quantities of illicit drugs, including fentanyl, into the United States. OFAC also designated Rafael Guadalupe Felix Nuñez, who began his criminal career working as a hitman for the Sinaloa Cartel. Read more.