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3 amended Russia-related GLs… and FAQs

Issuance of Russia-related General Licenses and Amended Russia-related Frequently Asked Questions

Release date

01/17/2023

Body

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is issuing Russia-related General License 6C “Transactions Related to Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, Medical Devices, Replacement Parts and Components, or Software Updates, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, or Clinical Trials”, Russia-related General License 54A “Authorizing Certain Transactions Involving VEON Ltd. or VEON Holdings B.V. Prohibited by Executive Order 14071”, and Russia-related General License 28B “Authorizing the Wind Down and Rejection of Certain Transactions Involving Public Joint Stock Company Transkapitalbank and Afghanistan”. OFAC is also amending four Russia-related Frequently Asked Questions (982, 1054, 1055, and 1059).

OFAC Notice

Here is GL 6C – not clear what changed:

GL 54A now includes transactions involving VEON Holdings B.V.:

GL 28B extends the deadline through March 18th, and adds a note that wind-down and closure of correspondent accounts are included (with some caveats, of course):

Here are the amended FAQs:

Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

1059. Do the determinations made pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14071 on May 8, 2022, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Accounting, Trust and Corporate Formation, and Management Consulting Services,” and on September 15, 2022, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Quantum Computing Services” (“the determinations”), prohibit U.S. persons from providing services to persons located outside of the Russian Federation that are owned or controlled by persons located in the Russian Federation?

No, provided that the provision of services is not an indirect export to a person located in the Russian Federation.  For the purposes of these determinations, OFAC interprets the “indirect” provision of the prohibited services to include when the benefit of the services is ultimately received by a “person located in the Russian Federation.”

In contrast, OFAC would not consider to be prohibited the provision of services to a non-Russian company that has a physical presence and operations outside of the Russian Federation, including such a company owned or controlled by persons located in the Russian Federation, provided that the services will not be further exported or reexported to persons located in the Russian Federation.

For example, the following scenarios describe services that would be prohibited under the determination:

  • A U.S. corporate service provider administers a trust established under the laws of a U.S. state, where the trust exists to hold, sell, or purchase assets on behalf of a settlor, trustor, or beneficiary who is an individual ordinarily resident in Russia. 
  • A U.S. corporate service provider registers a limited liability company in a third country on behalf of an individual ordinarily resident in Russia for the purpose of holding real estate assets, and this company has no other physical presence or operations in the third country. 

The following scenarios illustrate services to a non-Russian subsidiary of a Russian person that would not be prohibited under the determination:

  • A U.S. accounting firm provides tax advisory and preparation services to the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian company.  This U.S. subsidiary has an office and employees in the United States and conducts business in the United States, and the services will not be exported or reexported to the Russian parent company.
  • A U.S. management consulting firm provides strategic business advice to the subsidiary of a Russian company located in a third country.  This subsidiary has an office and employees in the third country and conducts business in this third country, and the services will not be reexported to the Russian parent company.

Date Updated: January 17, 2023 

Updated on 01/17/2023

Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

1055. Do the new investment prohibitions of Executive Order (E.O.) 14066, E.O. 14068, or E.O. 14071 (collectively, “the respective E.O.s”) prohibit U.S. persons from lending funds to, or purchasing a debt or equity interest in, entities located outside of the Russian Federation?    

No, provided that (i) such funds are not specifically intended for new projects or operations in the Russian Federation and (ii) the entity located outside the Russian Federation derives less than 50 percent of its revenues from its investments in the Russian Federation.  

For the purposes of assessing the foregoing, U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, may reasonably rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business, including publicly available information such as an entity’s most recent quarterly or annual report.  For the purposes of determining the percentage of revenues derived from investments in the Russian Federation, revenues derived from the commercial sale of goods or services by an entity located outside of the Russian Federation to persons in the Russian Federation should not be included.  This approach is consistent with the guidance provided by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in FAQ 1049, which clarifies that OFAC does not consider the commercial sale of goods or services to persons in the Russian Federation by an entity located outside the Russian Federation to be new investment in the Russian Federation for purposes of the respective E.O. prohibitions. 

Unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC, examples of transactions that OFAC considers to be “new investment” for the purposes of the respective E.O. prohibitions include:

  • The lending of funds to a special purpose vehicle established outside of the Russian Federation by a Russian entity for the purpose of raising funds intended to support new or expanded physical operations in the Russian Federation. 
  • The purchase (including on the secondary markets) of a debt or equity interest in an entity located outside of the Russian Federation that derives 50 percent or more of its revenues from its ownership of a subsidiary located in the Russian Federation (e.g., through dividends paid up by the Russian subsidiary to the non-Russian parent company).  
  • The purchase (including on the secondary markets) of a debt or equity interest in an entity located outside of the Russian Federation that derives 50 percent or more of its revenues from its ownership of real estate, a mine, or other physical property located in the Russian Federation. 

OFAC notes, however, the new investment prohibitions of the respective E.O.s do not prohibit U.S. persons from selling or divesting debt or equity securities issued by such entities to a non-U.S. person.  Moreover, U.S. financial institutions may clear and settle, or otherwise serve as market intermediaries in, such divestment transactions on the secondary market — including transactions between non-U.S. persons.  For the purposes of assessing whether certain purchases of debt or equity of an entity are permissible, U.S. financial institutions, including securities exchanges and other market intermediaries and participants, may reasonably rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business.  

Examples of transactions that OFAC does not consider to be “new investment” for the purposes of the respective E.O. prohibitions include:

  • The purchase (including on the secondary markets) of a debt or equity interest in an entity located outside of the Russian Federation provided that the entity derives less than 50 percent of its revenues from its ownership of a subsidiary or physical operation located in the Russian Federation. 
  • The purchase (including on the secondary markets) of a debt or equity interest in an entity located outside of the Russian Federation whose revenue is exclusively derived from the commercial sale of goods or services to persons located in the Russian Federation.
  • Activities that would be considered “maintenance” pursuant to FAQ 1050.  

Date Updated: January 17, 2023

Updated on 01/17/2023

Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

1054. Do the new investment prohibitions of Executive Order (E.O.) 14066, E.O. 14068, or E.O. 14071 (collectively, “the respective E.O.s”) prohibit U.S. persons from purchasing debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation?

Yes, the respective E.O.s prohibit U.S. persons from purchasing both new and existing debt and equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation.  However, the new investment prohibitions of the respective E.O.s do not prohibit U.S. persons from selling or divesting debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation to a non-U.S. person (see FAQ 1049), including purchases of such debt or equity securities if ordinarily incident and necessary to the divestment or transfer of the debt or equity securities to a non-U.S. person.  U.S. financial institutions may clear and settle, or otherwise serve as market intermediaries in, divestment transactions on the secondary market—including transactions between non-U.S. persons.  

Please note that U.S. persons are not required to divest such securities and may continue to hold such previously acquired securities.  Moreover, the conversion of depositary receipts to underlying local shares of non-sanctioned Russian issuers would not be considered a prohibited “new investment” in the Russian Federation under the respective E.O.s.  

Additionally, the purchase of shares in a U.S. fund would not be considered a prohibited “new investment” under the respective E.O.s, unless the fund’s holdings of debt or equity securities issued by entities in the Russian Federation represent a 50 percent or more share by value of the fund.  Generally, the fund may also divest itself of these prohibited holdings.   

Date Updated: January 17, 2023

Updated on 01/17/2023

Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

982. Are U.S. funds allowed to buy or sell debt or equity of blocked Russian financial institutions?  Are U.S. investors allowed to invest in a fund that holds debt or equity of a blocked Russian financial institution?

Unless otherwise authorized, U.S. persons may not buy or sell debt or equity of the Russian financial institutions blocked pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024.  Accordingly, a U.S. fund may not buy, sell, or otherwise engage in transactions related to debt or equity of such blocked Russian financial institutions, and must block such holdings, unless exempt or otherwise authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  A U.S. fund that contains such blocked holdings generally is not itself considered a blocked entity unless such blocked holdings represent a 50 percent or more share by value of the fund.  If such blocked holdings do not represent a 50 percent or more share by value of the fund, U.S. persons may continue to invest in it, and the fund is not considered blocked.  The fund may divest itself of blocked holdings to the extent authorized by OFAC.

Date Updated: January 17, 2023

Updated on 01/17/2023

Amended Russia-related Frequently Asked Questions

Links:

OFAC Notice

Amended General Licenses – 6C, 54A, 28B

Amended FAQs

Categories: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guidance Licenses OFAC Updates Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions

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