Sanctions against Russia. Recent developments.

 

On 22 February 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws ratifying agreements with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) recognizing them as independent states.

On 24 February 2022 President Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Sanctions were adopted against Russia further to these actions of Russia (please see our previous legal alerts).

This additional legal alert mainly focuses of the sixth round of sanctions adopted by the European Union (EU) and the United States.

EU measures

EU introduced the sixth package of sanctions

On 3 June 2022, the EU adopted a sixth round of economic and individual sanctions in response to Russia’s supposed actions in Ukraine. Additionally, the new sanctions require that the Member States lay down rules on penalties (in particular criminal liability) applicable to infringement of the sanctions.

Sectoral sanctions are included in Council Regulation No. 833/2014 and comprise the following blocks:

Broadcasting

+In addition to restriction of broadcasting certain Russian channels, it is now prohibited to advertise products or services in any content produced or broadcast said legal entities. In addition to Russia Today and Sputnik news outlets, the restrictions now target Rossiya RTR/RTR Planeta, Rossiya 24 / Russia 24 and TV Centre International (Article 2 f, Annex XV).

Oil

+Prohibition to purchase, import or transfer crude oil and petroleum products if they originate from Russia or are exported from Russia, as well as provide related services. The restriction will not temporarily apply to certain Member States, including Bulgaria, Croatia, and Czechia in certain instances. The restrictions will also not apply:

  • until 5 December 2022 to one-off transactions for near-term delivery, concluded and executed before that date, or until 5 December 2022 to the execution of contracts for the purchase, import or transfer of goods falling under CN 2709 00 (crude oil) concluded before 4 June 2022, or of ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts, provided that those contracts have been notified by the relevant Member States to the Commission by 24 June 2022 and that the one-off transactions for near-term delivery are notified by the relevant Member States to the Commission within 10 days of their completion;
  • until 5 February 2023, to one-off transactions for near-term delivery, concluded and executed before this date, or to the execution of contracts for the purchase, import or transfer of goods falling under CN 2710 (other refined petroleum products) concluded before 4 June 2022, or of ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts, provided that those contracts have been notified by the relevant Member States to the Commission by 24 June 2022 and that the one-off transactions for near-term delivery are notified by the relevant Member States to the Commission within 10 days of their completion;
  • to the purchase, import or transfer of listed seaborne crude oil and of petroleum products where those goods originate in a third country and are only being loaded in, departing from or transiting through Russia, provided that both the origin and the owner of those goods are non-Russian;
  • to crude oil falling under CN 2709 00 which is delivered by pipeline from Russia into Member States, until the Council decides that the prohibitions apply (Article 3m).

+Prohibition to provide, directly or indirectly, technical assistance, brokering services or financing or financial assistance, related to the transport, including through ship-to-ship transfers, to third countries of listed crude oil or petroleum products which originate in Russia, or which have been exported from Russia. The prohibition will not apply to:

  • the execution until 5 December 2022 of contracts concluded before 4 June 2022, or of ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts; or
  • the transport of listed crude oil or petroleum products where those goods originate in a third country and are only being loaded in, departing from or transiting through Russia, provided that both the origin and the owner of those goods are non-Russian (Article 3n).

SWIFT-related restrictions

+ Prohibition to provide specialized financial messaging services is extended to Sberbank, Credit Bank of Moscow, and Russian Agricultural Bank starting from 14 June 2022. As a reminder, the following banks are already targeted by these restrictions since March 2022: Bank Otkrytie, Novikombank, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank, Bank Rossiya, VEB, VTB BANK (Article 5h, Annex XIV).

Consulting services

+ Prohibition to provide, directly or indirectly, accounting, auditing, including statutory audit, bookkeeping or tax consulting services, or business and management consulting or public relations services to the Russian Government and legal persons, entities or bodies established in Russia.

+ Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping and tax consultancy services cover:

  • the recording of commercial transactions for businesses and others;
  • examination services of accounting records and financial statements;
  • business tax planning and consulting; and
  • the preparation of tax documents.

+ Business and management consulting and public relations services cover advisory, guidance and operational assistance services provided to businesses for business policy and strategy and the overall planning, structuring and control of an organization, including

  • management fees, management auditing;
  • market management, human resources, production management and project management consulting;
  • and advisory, guidance and operational services related to improving the image of the clients and their relations with the general public and other institutions.

+The prohibition will not apply to:

  • the provision of services that are strictly necessary for the termination by 5 July 2022 of contracts concluded before 4 June 2022, or of ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts;
  • the provision of services that are strictly necessary for the exercise of the right of defense in judicial proceedings and the right to an effective legal remedy;
  • the provision of services intended for the exclusive use of legal persons, entities or bodies established in Russia that are owned by, or solely or jointly controlled by, a legal person, entity or body which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a Member State.

Additionally, the competent authorities may authorize such services for: (a) humanitarian purposes, such as delivering or facilitating the delivery of assistance, including medical supplies, food, or the transfer of humanitarian workers and related assistance or for evacuations; or (b) civil society activities that directly promote democracy, human rights or the rule of law in Russia.

(Article 5n, Council Regulation 2022/879 dated 3 June 2022 Preamble paragraph 26).

Application of restrictions related to business and management consulting services to legal consulting.

The new regulation provides for a broad definition of consulting services. It does not, however, specifically name legal consulting in its definition.

At the same time, a similar wording related to consulting services had been imposed by the United States. Specifically, the United States prohibit management consulting services, which are defined as follows: “services related to strategic business advice; organizational and systems planning, evaluation, and selection; development or evaluation of marketing programs or implementation; mergers, acquisitions, and organizational structure; staff augmentation and human resources policies and practices; and brand management”.

According to a White House press briefing legal services are indeed not on the list for now, since “if there was a desire to seek due process through a U.S. lawyer, we would allow that to continue”. Mentioned wording is very close to the exception made in the recent EU regulation which reads as follows: the provision of services that are strictly necessary for the exercise of the right of defense in judicial proceedings and the right to an effective legal remedy.

We expect further clarifications by the EU officials  on the applicability of the ban to legal consulting.

Export restrictions

The new sanctions expand the list of persons connected to Russia’s defense and industrial base, on whom tighter export restrictions regarding dual-use goods and technology, as well as goods and technology which might contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defense and security sector, are imposed (please refer to amended Annex IV to Council Regulation No. 833/2014, , which set forth a list of Russian legal entities subject to a export prohibition under Articles 2 and 2a of Council Regulation No. 833/2014).

Additionally, the list of goods and technology which may contribute to the technological enhancement of Russia’s defense and security sector has also been expanded (please refer to amended Annex VII to Council Regulation No. 833/2014, which set forth a list of goods and technologies subject to export restrictions under Article 2a of Council Regulation No. 833/2014).

(Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/844 dated 3 June 2022).

Individual blocking sanctions

New individual listings include military personnel, Russian businesspersons, governmental officials and their family members. The list also includes the following companies in the Russian defense sector and a financial organization:

  • JSC GARNIZON;
  • JSC OBORONENERGO;
  • OJSC Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant (UAZ);
  • JSC VOENTELECOM;
  • JSC VOENTORG;
  • VOENTEKSTILPROM LLC;
  • INDEPENDENT INSURANCE GROUP;
  • PJSC KAMAZ;
  • JSC KRONSHTADT TEKHNOLOGII Group of Companies;
  • Management Company Tatneft-Neftekhim LLC;
  • Nizhnekamsk All-Steel Tyre Plant, LLC;
  • PJSC Nizhnekamskshina;
  • LLC TD KAMA;
  • OJSC Balashikha Casting and Mechanical Plant;
  • JSC REMDIZEL;
  • JSC SUKHOI Company;
  • JSC “121 AIRCRAFT REPAIR PLANT“;

US measures

  1. OFAC has updated its SDN list and issued new general licenses

On 2 June 2022 the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) updated Russia-related sanctions. Specifically,

OFAC included the following persons into the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN):

+ FAIZULLIN, Irek Envarovich

+ GASILOV, Andrei Valeryevich

+ GORKOV, Sergey Nikolaevich

+ GRIGORENKO, Dmitriy Yuryevich

+ KOCHMAN, Evgeniy Borisovich

+MIRTOVA, Elena Yuryevna

+MORDASHOV, Alexey Aleksandrovich

+MORDASHOV, Kirill Alekseyevich

+MORDASHOV, Nikita Alekseyevich

+MORDASHOVA, Marina Aleksandrovna

+NISANOV, God Semenovich.

+NOVITSKY, Evgeny Grigorievich

+RESHETNIKOV, Maxim Gennadyevich

+ROLDUGIN, Sergei Pavlovich

+SAVELYEV, Vitaly Gennadyevich

+SLYUSAR, Yury Borisovich.

+ZAKHAROVA, Mariya Vladimirovna.

+IMPERIAL YACHTS SARL

+IRONSTONE MARINE INVESTMENTS JSC ARGUMENT

+LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY ALGORITM LIMITED LIABILITY CORPORATION GELIOSNON-PROFIT PARTNERSHIP REVIVAL OF MARITIME TRADITIONS

+NORD GOLD PLC

+O’NEILL ASSETS

+OOO BILDING MENEDZHMENT

+OOO NORD MARIN INZHINIRING

+OOO NORD MARINE

+OOO YAKHT-TREID

+PUBLIC JOINT STOCK COMPANY SEVERSTAL

+SCF MANAGEMENT SERVICES CYPRUS LTD

+SEVERGROUP LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

+SRL SKYLINE AVIATION

Additionally, certain vessels and aircraft were added to the SDN List.

OFAC authorized a number of General Licenses, including

  • General License 25B authorizing transactions related to telecommunications and certain Internet-based communications;
  • General License 36 for the wind-down of transactions of Severstal until 31 August 2022;
  • General License 37 for the wind-down of transactions of Nord Gold until 1 July 2022;
  • General License 38 authorising transactions involving pension payments to US persons.
  1. BIS Added New Companies to Entity List

On 2 June 2022, the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 71 entities to the Entity List. Most of the entries target entities qualified as “military end users”

The Entity List identifies entities for which there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, that the entities have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) impose additional license requirements on, and limit the availability of, most license exceptions for exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to listed entities.

  1. BIS Revised Certain EAR Provisions

On 6 June 2022, the BIS issued a rule revising, correcting, and clarifying certain provisions of the EAR that pertain to exports controls on the Russian Federation, as well as certain related provisions. Particularly, the rule revises and corrects

  • EAR’s military end use and military end user controls as they apply to Russia and Belarus, as well as related modifications to the entries for entities on the Entity List that are Russian and Belarusian military end users;
  • restrictions that apply to items destined for certain regions in Ukraine by clarifying the categories of license applications that BIS subjects to case-by-case review;
  • provisions of the EAR that pertain to luxury goods destined for Russia and Belarus and items for use in Russia’s oil refinery sector
  • EAR to allow export enforcement case charging letters to be made available to the public prior to the final administrative disposition of such cases.

We are actively following the developments related to those issues and are fully prepared to advise our clients.

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