EU Updates FAQS to Address Energy Security: On October 7, 2022, the EU updated two FAQs clarifying the impact of Council Regulation 833/2014 on the import, purchase and transfer of listed goods. The EU clarified that Council Regulation 833/2014 prohibits the transfer of any listed goods if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, regardless of whether the goods are destined for the EU. However, the EU noted that in order to support global energy security, EU operators are permitted to transport specific energy-related goods from Russia to a third country if they did so without transiting EU territory. The energy security exemption would apply to:
- Energy goods falling under Combined Nomenclature (“CN”) codes 4401 (fuel wood) and 4402 (charcoal), as listed in Annex XXI;
- All the items listed in Annex XXII (coal and related products).
National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) Amendments: On October 11, 2022, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) proposed an amendment to the Senate’s version of the NDAA. The amendment would require the President to publish a report identifying “foreign persons” participating in any transaction “for the sale, supply, or transfer (including transportation) of gold, directly or indirectly, to or from” Russia. If adopted, the amendment would also codify the Biden administration’s existing ban on imports of gold from Russia.
Enforcement: On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) charged Graham Bonham-Carter in the Southern District of New York for conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions. Bonham-Carter allegedly worked as a property manager for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, helping Deripaska funnel money into U.S. assets despite Deripaska’s status as a Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Person (“SDN”) since April 2018. According to the indictment, between March 2021 and December 2021, Bonham-Carter wired over $1 million in payments from a Russian bank account belonging to one of Deripaska’s companies to a U.S. bank account for a shell company managing Deripaska’s U.S. property.
Aluminum Prices Spike Amid Concerns of U.S. Ban: Aluminum prices have experienced considerable jumps in the last week as concerns rise that the Biden administration may impose a complete ban on Russian aluminum. The administration had previously declined to sanction Russian aluminum out of worry that it would disrupt global suppliers, but in light of Russia’s recent missile attacks on civilian sites in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, the administration is considering one of three options: (1) an outright ban, (2) a significant increase in tariffs, or (3) a sanction on United Co. Rusal International PJSC (“Rusal”), Russia’s aluminum producer. The U.S. previously imposed sanctions on Rusal in 2018, which caused significant chaos in the global market until they were lifted in early 2019.
BIS Publishes New Restrictions on Semiconductors and Advanced Computing Items: On October 13, 2022, BIS published new controls on the export, reexport, and transfer of certain semiconductors and other advanced computing items. Though these new controls focused primarily on China, any items covered in the new ECCNs are also prohibited to be exported, reexported, or transferred to Russia or Belarus without a license.