NY Lawyer Discusses What Russia Trade Sanctions Mean for US Companies and Investors

The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control revealed new trade sanctions last month versus Russian people and business, following those revealed previously this year. With input from the United States State Department, OFAC approved 7 Russian oligarchs, 12 business they own or manage, 17 senior Russian federal government authorities, a state-owned Russian trading company and its subsidiary bank, some with holdings in United States and somewhere else. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated they were punished for Russian actions in eastern Ukraine, Crimea and Syria and for “trying to overturn Western democracies and destructive cyber-activities,”according to a declaration released on April 6. The new sanctions seem the very first time OFAC called publicly-traded business on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List, stated Seetha Ramachandran, a litigation partner concentrating on anti-money-laundering guidelines and OFAC compliance at Schulte Roth & Zabel in New York City. U.S. individuals– consisting of U.S. locals and people living abroad– are forbidden from trading with obstructed entities, she stated.

By calling Russian industrialists with considerable ownership in traded business, the sanctions also require companies and business to examine whether companies not particularly called on the Specially Designated Nationals List would be considered obstructed, Ramachandran stated. The sanctions also reach any foreign person who intentionally assists in deals for people on the list, or their instant loved ones. Charges for infractions are high– in 2017, OFAC enforcement actions led to 16 civil charges and settlements amounting to more than $119.5 million.

Ramachandran consulted with the National Law Journal just recently about what the sanctions mean for financiers, business and their companies doing business in Russia, or with other entities who work with Russia. She previously was deputy chief in the possession forfeit and money-laundering area in the criminal department of the United States Department of Justice, where she was the very first co-head of the criminal department’s Money Laundering and Bank Integrity system. While there, Ramachandran assisted lead anti-money-laundering prosecutions of HSBC, ING, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Amongst the business approved by OFAC in April are B-Finance Ltd., based in the British Virgin Islands, for being owned or managed by Oleg Deripaska, a Russian Federation senior authority who is reported to have actually been connected to Trump project chairman Paul Manafort. Other business consists of Basic Element Limited and EN+ Group, an energy, minerals and hydropower corporation. United Company RUSAL PLC, among the world’s biggest aluminum manufacturers, also is on the list. People approved by OFAC consist of Vladimir Bogdanov, director general and vice chairman of the board of directors of energy company Surgutneftegaz; Viktor Vekselberg, creator and chairman of the board of directors of the Renova Group, an oil, aluminum and telecom corporation who is stated to be the fourth-richest man in Russia and Kirill Shamalov, owner of a great deal of shares in Sibur, a Moscow-based petrochemical company, according to the Treasury Department.