On March 5, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order 13851 of November 27, 2018 and the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) further escalated sanctions against Nicaragua by naming the Nicaraguan National Police (“NNP”) and three NNP commissioners as Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs”), citing serious human rights abuses.  OFAC previously named other officials of the NNP as SDNs in 2018 and 2019, also citing human rights abuses.  The press release issued by the US Treasury Department regarding the March 5, 2020 designations is available here.

All property and interests in property within US jurisdiction of the NNP and the named NNP commissioners are now blocked.  OFAC issued FAQ 827, which clarifies that the sanctions only apply to the NNP as an institution and to the specifically named NNP commissioners, but not to any unnamed NNP police officers.  “US Persons” are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with SDNs and any entities 50 percent or more owned by SDNs.  “US Persons” include (i) entities organized under US laws and their non-US branches, (ii) individuals or entities in the United States, or (iii) US citizens or permanent resident aliens (“Green Card” holders) wherever located or employed. Concurrent with the designations, OFAC issued General License 1 to authorize all transactions that are for the official business of the US government by employees, grantees, or contractors; and General License 2 to authorize, through May 5, 2020, all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving the NNP (such as the processing of salary payments from the NNP) or any entity in which the NNP owns, directly or indirectly, a 50% or greater interest.  The authorization in General License 2 does not permit the involvement of any other blocked persons.

Authors: Janet K. Kim, Eunkyung Kim Shin and Ryan Poitras.