Sep

12

Maybe Their Phones Aren’t Working


Posted by at 3:27 pm on September 12, 2014
Category: Iran SanctionsOFACSudanSyria

By CFTC via https://www.flickr.com/photos/cftc/4406624868/sizes/z/ [Public Domain]Both the Commodity Futures Trading  Commission and the Office of Foreign Assets Control announced settlement agreements under which they imposed fines of $150,000 and $200,000 respectively on the oddly named Zulutrade, an online foreign exchange broker.  Zulutrade has nothing to do with Africa but is located in Pireaus, Greece, incorporated in Delaware and registered with the CFTC (which is how OFAC and CFTC got their hooks into a company located in Greece). The OFAC announcement is here and the CFTC announcement is here.

The reason for the fines is that Zulutrade allegedly maintained accounts for over 400 persons in Iran, Sudan, and Syria. On this much, the CFTC and OFAC agree. Beyond that the two agencies have different stories about how the violations, which were not voluntarily disclosed by Zulutrade, occurred. OFAC’s explanation is simply that Zulutrade had no idea it needed to comply with U.S. sanctions, perhaps not surprising in the case of a company sitting in Greece even if incorporated in Delaware.

Zulutrade failed to screen or otherwise monitor its customer base for OFAC compliance purposes at the time of the apparent violations. This failure was the result of a lack of awareness regarding U.S. sanctions regulations.

But to listen to CFTC the problem was that Zulutrade was aware of its responsibilities, tried to comply with them and botched it.  The Zulutrade compliance program, according to CFTC, provided that Zulutrade

may delegate implementation to third party service providers or agents. The procedure also says that if implementation is delegated, “Zulutrade shall have a written agreement with the other entity outlining the other entity’s responsibilities, and shall actively monitor the delegation to assure that the procedures are being conducted in an effective manner.” However, Respondent did not follow its procedure for OF AC screening. Specifically, Respondent relied entirely upon third parties to implement its procedures but Respondent did not have written agreements with all such third parties and OF AC screening was not performed.

I do not see any way to read these two narratives as consistent. OFAC says Zulutrade had no idea it needed to comply, but CFTC says that Zulutrade knew it need to comply but delegated the responsibility to third parties, although not in the fashion required by its compliance program and, apparently, without checking to see if the third parties were in fact screening. It’s hard to explain these two different accounts of what happened other than by the fact that OFAC and CFTC are in different parts of Washington and their telephones must not be working.

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Sep

12

New Russian Sanctions Add Parties to SSIL and SDN Lists


Posted by at 1:48 pm on
Category: Russia Designations

This morning OFAC added a number of Russian entities to the SSIL and SDN Lists.  Those new designations are the following:

The following entities have been added to OFAC’s SDN List:

JOINT STOCK COMPANY ALMAZ-ANTEY AIR DEFENSE CONCERN MAIN SYSTEM DESIGN BUREAU NAMED BY ACADEMICIAN A.A. RASPLETIN (a.k.a. A.A. RASPLETIN MAIN SYSTEM DESIGN BUREAU; a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY GSKB; a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY GSKB IMENI ACADEMICIAN A.A. RASPLETIN; a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY MSDB; a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY PVO ‘AIR DEFENSE’ CONCERN LEAD SYSTEMS DESIGN BUREAU OAO ‘OPEN JOINT-STOCK COMPANY’ IMENI ACADEMICIAN A.A. RASPLETIN; a.k.a. GOLOVNOYE SISTEMNOYE KONSTRUKTORSKOYE BYURO OPEN JOINT-STOCK COMPANY OF ALMAZ-ANTEY PVO CONCERN IMENI ACADEMICIAN A.A. RASPLETIN; a.k.a. JSC ‘ALMAZ-ANTEY’ MSDB; f.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO NAUCHNO PROIZVODSTVENNOE OBEDINENIE ALMAZ IMENI AKADEMIKA A.A. RASPLETINA; a.k.a. “GSKB”), 16-80, Leningradsky Prospect, Moscow 125190, Russia; Website http://www.raspletin.ru/; Email Address info@raspletin.ru; alt. Email Address almaz_zakupki@mail.ru [UKRAINE-EO13661].

JSC V. TIKHOMIROV SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF INSTRUMENT DESIGN (a.k.a. JSC NIIP; f.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO NAUCHNO ISSLEDOVATELSKI INSTITUT PRIBOROSTROENIYA IMENI V.V. TIKHOMIROVA), 3 Ul. Gagarina, Zhukovski, Moskovskaya Obl 140180, Russia; Gagarin Str, 3, Zhukovsky 140180, Russia; Website http://www.niip.ru; Email Address niip@niip.ru; Registration ID 1025001627859; Government Gazette Number 13185231 (Russia) [UKRAINE-EO13661].

KALININ MACHINE PLANT JSC (a.k.a. KALININ MACHINE-BUILDING PLANT OPEN JOINT-STOCK COMPANY; a.k.a. KALININ MACHINERY PLANT-BRD; a.k.a. MASHINOSTROITEL’NYI ZAVOD IM. M.I. KALININA, G. YEKATERINBURG OAO; a.k.a. MZIK OAO; a.k.a. OPEN-END JOINT-STOCK COMPANY ‘KALININ MACHINERY PLANT. YEKATERINBURG’; a.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO MASHINOSTROITELNY ZAVOD IM.M.I.KALININA, G.EKATERINBURG), 18 prospekt Kosmonavtov, Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovskaya obl. 620017, Russia; Email Address info@zik.ru [UKRAINE-EO13661].

MYTISHCHINSKI MASHINOSTROITELNY ZAVOD, OAO (a.k.a. JSC MYTISHCHINSKI MACHINE-BUILDING PLANT; a.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO ‘MYTISHCHINSKI MASHINOSTROITELNY ZAVOD’), 4 ul. Kolontsova Mytishchi, Mytishchinski Raion, Moskovskayaobl 141009, Russia; UL. Koloncova, d.4, Mytishi, Moscow region 141009, Russia; Website www.mmzavod.ru; Email Address mmzavod@mail.ru; Registration ID 1095029003860 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 61540868 (Russia) [UKRAINE-EO13661].

OAO ‘DOLGOPRUDNY RESEARCH PRODUCTION ENTERPRISE’ (a.k.a. DOLGOPRUDNENSKOYE NPP OAO; a.k.a. DOLGOPRUDNY; a.k.a. DOLGOPRUDNY RESEARCH PRODUCTION ENTERPRISE; a.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO DOIGOPRUDNENSKOE NAUCHNO PROIZVODSTVENNOE PREDPRIYATIE), 1 Pl. Sobina, Dolgoprudny, Moskovskaya obl. 141700, Russia; Proshchad Sobina 1, Dolgoprudny 141700, Russia; Email Address dnpp@orc.ru; Registration ID 1025001202544; Tax ID No. 5008000322; Government Gazette Number 07504318 [UKRAINE-EO13661].

The following entities have been added to OFAC’s Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List pursuant to the directives that can be found here
 

​AK TRANSNEFT OAO (a.k.a. AKTSIONERNAYA KOMPANIYA PO TRANSPORTUNEFTI TRANSNEFT OAO; a.k.a. OAO AK TRANSNEFT; a.k.a. OIL TRANSPORTING JOINT-STOCK COMPANY TRANSNEFT; a.k.a. TRANSNEFT; a.k.a. TRANSNEFT OJSC; a.k.a. TRANSNEFT, JSC), 57 B. Polyanka ul., Moscow 119180, Russia; 57 Bolshaya. Polyanka, Moscow 119180, Russia; Website www.transneft.ru; Email Address transneft@ak.transneft.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 2; Registration ID 1027700049486; Tax ID No. 7706061801; Government Gazette Number 00044463; For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives.[UKRAINE-EO13662].

LUKOIL OAO (a.k.a. LUKOIL; a.k.a. LUKOIL OIL COMPANY; a.k.a. NEFTYANAYA KOMPANIYA LUKOIL OOO; a.k.a. NK LUKOIL OAO), 11 Sretenski boulevard, Moscow 101000, Russia; Website www.lukoil.ru; Email Address info@lukoil.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 4; Registration ID 1027700035769; Tax ID No. 7708004767; Government Gazette Number 00044434; For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE-EO13662].

OJSC GAZPROM NEFT (a.k.a. GAZPROM NEFT OAO; a.k.a. JSC GAZPROM NEFT; a.k.a. OPEN JOINT-STOCK COMPANY GAZPROM NEFT; f.k.a. SIBIRSKAYA NEFTYANAYA KOMPANIYA OAO), Let. A. Galernaya, 5, ul, St. Petersburg 190000, Russia; Ul. Pochtamtskaya, 3-5, St. Petersburg 190000, Russia; 3-5 Pochtamtskaya St., St. Petersburg 190000, Russia; 125 A. Profsoyuznaya Street, Moscow 117647, Russia; Website http://www.gazprom-neft.com/; Email Address info@gazprom-neft.ru; alt. Email Address pr@gazprom-neft.ru; alt. Email Address shareholders@gazprom-neft.ru; alt. Email Address ir@gazprom-neft.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 2; alt. Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 4; Registration ID 1025501701686; Tax ID No. 5504036333; Government Gazette Number 42045241; For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE-EO13662].

OPEN JOINT STOCK COMPANY GAZPROM (a.k.a. GAZPROM OAO; a.k.a. OAO GAZPROM), 16 Nametkina St., Moscow, Russia GSP-7, 117997, Russia; 16 Nametkina ul., Moscow 117991, Russia; Website www.gazprom.ru; Email Address gazprom@gazprom.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 4; Registration ID 1027700070518 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7736050003 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 00040778 (Russia); For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE-EO13662].

ROSTEC (a.k.a. ROSTEC STATE CORPORATION; a.k.a. RUSSIAN TECHNOLOGIES; a.k.a. RUSSIAN TECHNOLOGIES STATE CORPORATION FOR ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION AND EXPORT OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT; a.k.a. STATE CORPORATION FOR ASSISTANCE TO DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION AND EXPORT OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT ROSTEKHNOLOGII; a.k.a. STATE CORPORATION ROSTECHNOLOGII; a.k.a. STATE CORPORATION ROSTEKHNOLOGII), 24 Usacheva ul., Moscow 119048, Russia; 21 Gogolevsky Blvd., Moscow 119991, Russia; Website www.rostec.ru; Email Address info@rostec.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 3; Registration ID 1077799030847 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7704274402 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 94137372 (Russia); For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE-EO13662].

SBERBANK OF RUSSIA (f.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO SBERBANK ROSSII; a.k.a. SBERBANK ROSSII; f.k.a. SBERBANK ROSSII OAO), 19 ul. Vavilova, Moscow 117997, Russia; SWIFT/BIC SABRRUMM; Website www.sberbank.ru; Email Address sbrf@sbrf.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 1; For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives.[UKRAINE-EO13662].

SURGUTNEFTEGAS (a.k.a. OPEN JOINT STOCK COMPANY SURGUTNEFTEGAS; a.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO SURGUTNEFTEGAZ; a.k.a. SURGUTNEFTEGAS OAO; a.k.a. SURGUTNEFTEGAS OJSC; a.k.a. SURGUTNEFTEGAZ OAO), ul. Grigoriya Kukuyevitskogo, 1, bld. 1, Khanty-Mansiysky Autonomous Okrug – Yugra, the city of Surgut, Tyumenskaya Oblast 628415, Russia; korp. 1 1 Grigoriya Kukuevitskogo ul., Surgut, Tyumenskaya oblast 628404, Russia; Street Kukuevitskogo 1, Surgut, Tyumen Region 628415, Russia; Website www.surgutneftegas.ru; Email Address secretary@surgutneftegas.ru; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination – Subject to Directive 4; For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE-EO13662].

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Sep

10

Sen. Landrieu Attempts to Clarify the Record … But Doesn’t


Posted by at 8:28 pm on September 10, 2014
Category: Economic SanctionsOFACSDN ListVenezuela

Sen. Landrieu [Official Portrait, Public Domain]

On Sunday, in Lafayette, LA, The Advertiser printed an opinion from Sen. Mary Landrieu entitled, “Sanctions, as written, will hurt La. workers.”  While we hoped Sen. Landrieu was writing to clarify the record in response to our post last week, she was writing instead to respond to an earlier opinion in The Advertiser written by Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Sen. Landrieu began by referring to the Lake Charles, LA oil refinery as “owned by Citgo, a Venezuelan company with a strong and respected reputation in Louisiana.”  Citgo, however, is quite clearly a U.S. company, founded and incorporated in the United States over a hundred years ago.  It became wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, the Venezuelan national oil company, in 1990, but remained a U.S. company.  The hawkish view on U.S. sanctions is, of course, that Citgo, even though a U.S. company employing U.S. persons, is not immune from the conduct of its foreign parent if, in this case, Petróleos de Venezuela’s conduct were found to be at variance with U.S. economic sanctions and was added to the SDN List, its subsidiary Citgo would be equally blocked and unable to employ U.S. workers.

In her opinion, Sen. Landrieu continued to defend her opposition to the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014 because she believed that “the legislation as written was too vague” and “will continue to oppose it unless the language of this resolution makes crystal clear that there will be no threat to the [Lake Charles] refinery.”  But, as we pointed out last week, Sen. Landrieu’s references to amending the Act have led to no clear (crystal or otherwise) suggestions on how to do so.  We think we can help her out.

The Act, like other sanctions bills, already permits the President to waive the application of sanctions against a person if he determines that such waiver is necessary for the “national security interests of the United States.”  The amendment we recommend to Sen. Landrieu is to rewrite the waiver in Section 5(c)(1) to read, “The President may waive the application of sanctions under subsection (b) with respect to a person if the President determines that such a waiver is in the national security or economic interests of the United States.”  By adding simply “or economic” to the waiver condition, the President has another avenue to defend not imposing sanctions against otherwise sanctionable foreign persons.  Again, as we pointed out last week, the President would not take lightly a decision to block Citgo’s assets in Louisiana or anywhere else in United States.  Congress, moreover, would be hard-pressed to oppose a waiver if the President were able to show that imposing sanctions would have tremendous economic ramifications.

If Sen. Landrieu wants to take the position that U.S. economic sanctions against human rights violators can’t come with a cost that significantly harms the U.S. economy, there is a way to protect that interest.  Whether or not her position wins the day on the Senate floor, we think the only practical way to do so is to give the President more discretion in how he may choose not to impose sanctions.  A tidy addition of the two words “or economic” should do the trick and put to bed another odd episode of “How a Bill Becomes a Law.”

 

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Sep

9

Export Fugitive Ends Life on the Lam, Pleads to Lesser Charge


Posted by at 9:06 pm on September 9, 2014
Category: Arms ExportCriminal PenaltiesDDTCExtradition

John NakkashianA little over five years ago, we reported on a settlement agreement pursuant to which Air Shunt, Inc., agreed to pay DDTC a penalty of $100,000 in connection with three unlicensed exports of military aircraft parts. These same three violations were alleged in an indictment of an Air Shunt Vice-President, John Nakkashian, who was at the time of the settlement nowhere to be found and presumed to be a “fugitive from justice.”

For reasons not entirely clear, Nakkashian was arrested in June of this year by ICE agents at the Los Angeles International Airport. I suspect that this was not because Nakkashian was trying to sneak back into the country to vacation at Disneyland. More likely it was part of a carefully negotiated deal, because Nakkashian and the prosecutors just submitted a plea agreement to the court under which Nakkashian pleaded to one false statement count (18 U.S.C. § 1001) in connection with one of the three illegal exports set forth in the original indictment. The false statement at issue was Nakkashian’s  statement in the export documents that no license was required for the export. The government, in return, agrees to a base offense level of 8 under the Sentencing Guidelines which would mean, if Nakkashian has no prior criminal history, a sentence of zero to six months. Compare this to the original indictment where each of the three counts had a base offense level of 26, meaning a sentence of at least 63-78 months for a defendant with no prior criminal history.

That’s a sweet deal and you have to wonder how a former “fugitive from justice” got this deal until you realize that Armenia, which is where we suspected Mr. Nakkashian (by virtue of his surname) was hiding out, has no extradition treaty with the United States. Moreover, given that this was not a crime of violence, it is unlikely that Armenia would voluntarily cooperate in returning Mr. Nakkashian to the United States for trial. That gave Nakkashian a potent bargaining chip which it would seem he used to maximum benefit with the U.S. preferring to impose some penalty rather than none at all.

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Sep

6

Bizarre Sanctions Battle Brews in the Bayou


Posted by at 9:34 am on September 6, 2014
Category: Economic SanctionsOFACSanctionsSDN ListVenezuela

By User:Lunarsurface (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACitgo_sign_and_Yawkey_way.jpg

With the calendar turning to September, Sen. Mary Landrieu will be displayed prominently in election media coverage as an incumbent in the proverbial hot seat.  The most intriguing fodder her opponents have used against her has been her curious opposition to the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014.  The House passed its version by voice vote in May, but the Act has stalled in the Senate principally because Landrieu’s opposition has derailed others from bringing the Act to vote through unanimous consent.

The Act includes sanctions against individuals and entities associated with the Venezuelan government that the President determines committed, directed or “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided significant … support for” those who have committed or directed human rights abuses against anti-government protestors in that country.  Like many similar sanctions bills, Congress would give the President wide discretion in determining whether persons meet standards like “materially assisted” or provided “significant” support.  The Act would certainly not require the President to designate any company affiliated with the Venezuelan government as an SDN and, as a result, block their U.S. assets.

Sen. Landrieu, however, has opposed the bill out of fear that 2,000 workers at a Citgo oil refinery in Louisiana may be at jeopardy.  She has said that “once a simple sentence that protects these hard working Louisianans is added to the bill, I will be happy to support the legislation.”  So, what would Sen. Landrieu’s “simple sentence” look like?  It can’t possibly be a carve out for 2,000 workers at a Louisiana Citgo refinery; then every member of Congress with a Citgo presence in their state would want similar protection for their constituents.  It can’t possibly be a carve out to protect any U.S. companies owned by a Venezuelan parent, like Citgo is; then the sanctions would be bereft of any heft to affect possible change in Venezuela.

This week, Sen. Marco Rubio entered the fray in a letter to Sen. Harry Reid to ensure the Act is brought to the Senate floor for a vote over Sen. Landrieu’s opposition.  In his letter, Sen. Rubio described the Act as “target[ing] individuals only and pose[] no threat to American jobs or Venezuelan firms.”  Not so fast, Marco, the Act includes sanctions against “persons.”  Someone forgot to tell Sen. Rubio that every OFAC sanctions regime defines persons to mean individuals and entities.  Someone also forgot to tell him about the three Citgo storage facilities, hundreds of gas stations and thousands of affiliated jobs the company has in Florida.

One upshot of this situation is that members of Congress don’t understand how U.S. economic sanctions work.  It is odd that Sen. Landrieu has stuck her political neck out in a situation where the President would be the one under the Act who would have to designate Petróleos de Venezuela, Citgo’s Venezuelan parent, as an SDN if he determined it met the conditions under the Act.  Doing so would not be a decision taken lightly and would have repercussions beyond just Louisiana (ask any Boston Red Sox fan about what would happen to the Citgo sign above left field).  It is also odd that Sen. Rubio would put his name to a letter that declares no U.S. jobs would be threatened by these sanctions.  The fact is that threat remains under the Act, no matter how unlikely, and the President, not Congress, would be in control of imposing sanctions.

A simple moral to this story is a classroom adage: Read Carefully and Think Critically.  Here’s hoping politicians start doing a little bit more of both.

Clif adds: In my somewhat more cynical view, the likelihood that members of Congress will ever “Read Carefully and Think Critically” is exactly equal to the likelihood that I will ever debut as Wotan in a production of The Ring Cycle at the Met.

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