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Enforcement & Investigations

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In the past several days, the US Government has issued a slew of sanctions measures targeting Russia. These represent the first major escalation of sanctions against Russia under the Biden Administration and, according to a White House Fact Sheet, are stated to be in response to Russia’s “harmful foreign activities,” including efforts to undermine free and fair democratic elections and institutions, malicious cyber activities (including the recent SolarWinds incident), transnational corruption, targeting of dissidents and journalists,…

On April 9, 2021, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published a final rule (“Final Rule”) in the Federal Register to add seven Chinese parties (together, the “Designees”) to the Entity List. The Final Rule took effect on April 8, 2021. According to the Final Rule and the Commerce Department’s press release, the Designees were added to the Entity List because they have procured US-origin items for use in building supercomputers that are used to support…

On April 8, 2021, the US Treasury Department published an updated List of Countries Requiring Cooperation With An International Boycott (the “Treasury List”). Significantly, Treasury announced that it had removed the UAE from the Treasury List following the UAE’s repeal of its law requiring participation with the Arab League Boycott of Israel and subsequent implementation of the new policy. In connection with its establishment of full diplomatic ties with Israel last year under the UAE-Israel Abraham Accords,…

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the US State Department (State), and the US Commerce Department (Commerce) issued rules adjusting maximum civil monetary penalties (CMPs) under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (FCA), as outlined below. (For additional years of CMPs, see our previous blog post available here.) OFAC CMP Adjustments Under OFAC’s final rule published on March 17, 2021, the adjusted penalties apply to CMPs that are assessed…

Under the Russian encryption regulations, notification to, or registration with, the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB) is required in order to import and distribute foreign products (hardware and software) with encryption functions or features in the Russian Federation. Although the FSB is a sanctioned party, listed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons (the “OFAC SDN List”) pursuant to the Cyber-Related Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R.…

The UK Export Control Joint Unit has published a revised guidance note on exporting military or dual-use technology. This guidance clarifies a number of common queries regarding technology exports, particularly around the use of cloud storage and remote data infrastructure through which information could be routed. The guidance also addresses the application of the special arrangements in Northern Ireland under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. The guidance affirms the position on how key definitions and concepts in UK…

On April 9, 2021, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) strengthened restrictions targeting Burma by adding Burma to the list of countries subject to the Export Administration Regulations’ (EAR’s) military-intelligence end-use and end-user controls and controls on certain support activities by US persons (“Interim Final Rule“). These controls were first issued on January 15, 2021 (“January Rule“), and became effective March 16, 2021.  Our blog posts on other recent sanctions targeting Burma…

On 13 April 2021, a new import ban will come into effect on 24 new categories of products originating from the Russian Federation. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution amending the list of products prohibited for import into Ukraine from the Russian Federation, which was previously approved by its Resolution No. 1147 dated 30 December 2015 “On Banning the Import of Products Originating in the Russian Federation into the Customs Territory of…

On 24 March 2021, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (“Minister”) issued updated Guidelines on the National Security Review of Investments (“Updated Guidelines”). The Updated Guidelines outline additional factors and clarify existing factors the Canadian government will consider in assessing investments for potential national security concerns under the Investment Canada Act (ICA). These new factors include sensitive personal data, intangible assets, certain sensitive technologies, and critical minerals. The Updated Guidelines also formalize that investments by state-owned…

On 5 March 2021, the European Commission published guidelines on the practical implementation of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 (“Market Surveillance Regulation”). From 16 July 2021, Article 4 will prevent distance sellers based outside of the EU from selling certain types of CE marked products (including toys, electrical goods and PPE) to customers in the EU where there is no EU-based economic operator responsible for compliance. This is of particular relevance to sellers using online marketplaces to sell…