New US sanctions in force Reviewed by Momizat on . [caption id="attachment_5432" align="alignnone" width="615"] Notwithstanding “arm in arm” photo opps of John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Russian Foreign M [caption id="attachment_5432" align="alignnone" width="615"] Notwithstanding “arm in arm” photo opps of John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Russian Foreign M Rating: 0

New US sanctions in force

Notwithstanding “arm in arm” photo opps of John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following the Iran “nuclear deal,” the fact remains that the Crimea annexation and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict are still “unfinished business” as far as the US is concerned.

Notwithstanding “arm in arm” photo opps of John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following the Iran “nuclear deal,” the fact remains that the Crimea annexation and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict are still “unfinished business” as far as the US is concerned.

By Chris Weston, CEE Consulting Group

Notwithstanding “arm in arm” photo opps of John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, following the Iran “nuclear deal,” the fact remains that the Crimea annexation and the (largely currently unreported) ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict are still “unfinished business” as far as the US is concerned.

US authorities have indeed signalled that they will press on with the sanctions albeit in a measured way. To this end, a number of additional targets were announced in late July as well as late last week just in case the Russian government were under the mistaken impression that the Iran deal meant that the country was, in its own eyes, “essential” to the US realising its foreign policy concerns.

In late July, the US appears to have taken note of how certain Kremlin insiders, such as Gennady Timchenko and the Rotenberg brothers, have sought to sidestep the sanctions regime. For example, Timchenko has sought to dispose of certain companies to “third parties;” whilst the Rotenbergs have sought to transfer their holdings to their sons.

US authorities have moved to add a number of these companies to their list of sanctioned entities under OFAC (the US Treasury Department`s Office of Foreign Asset Control).

Separately, late last week, the US also added Russian oil and gas field, the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye Field, located in the Sea of Okhotsk off the Siberian coast and owned by Russia’s leading gas producer Gazprom, to its list of energy sector sanctions.

Adding this oil field to the sanctions list means a license will be required for exports, re-exports or transfers of oil from that location. Furthermore, no US origin items or non-U.S. origin items containing more than 25 percent U.S. content can be exported or re-exported to the field without a US Commerce Department license, which is unlikely to be granted in the present circumstances.

On July 30, OFAC also sought to remind potential sanctions evaders that it was observing instances where SWIFT banking payments information avoided beneficiary details in order to obscure possible ties with those sanctioned. A number of banks have received heavy fines in the past, eg HSBC, Standard Chartered, in the context of facilitating breaches of sanctions  against, inter alia, Iran, designated by the US. This was a “not so gentle” hint by the authorities to banks to exercise care in this regard.

Thus, a central aspect of the above measures is to essentially make banks “think twice” of doing business with the relevant entities and individuals.

Photo courtesy of East Asia and Pacific Media Hub U.S. Department of State (Wikimedia Commons).

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