INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS APRIL 2020 EUROPEAN UNION

1. AL QAEDA/DAESH

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/483 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 1 April 2020 amending Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) 2002/881.

By amending this Annex, one natural person (Ibrahim Mohamed Jalil) was removed from the list and is no longer subject to the restrictive measures provided for by the above-mentioned Regulation.

2. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

• On 28 April 2020, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/582 and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/584 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending both the Annex to Council Regulation (EU) 2014/224 and the Annex to Council Decision (CFSP) 2013/798, respectively.

Accordingly, one natural person (Martin Koumtamadji) is added to the list contained in part A (Persons) of the above-mentioned Annexes for his involvement in acts that constitute a threat to peace, stability and security in the Central African Republic.

3. CUBA

• Section 3 of the Provincial Court of Palma, by Order dated March 18, 2020, upheld the appeal filed by Central Santa Lucía L.C. against the Order dated September 2, 2019 by which the Court of First Instance No. 24 of Palma de Mallorca determined that Spanish courts lacked international jurisdiction to resolve the claim filed by the aforementioned Central Santa Lucía L.C. -former owner of some land located in Cuba in an area called “Ingenio Santa Lucía” and confiscated by the Cuban Government- against the Spanish company Melía Hotels International S.A., claiming the seizure of the profits obtained by the latter due to the exploitation of a hotel complex in Cuba located in the mentioned expropriated land.

In the aforementioned Order, the Provincial Court rejected the grounds put forward by Court of First Instance No. 24 of Palma de Mallorca to determine its lack of jurisdiction.

The first of these grounds – because the plaintiff’s claims are based on the legal assessment of acts carried out by a subject, the Cuban Government, protected by immunity from jurisdiction by virtue of the provisions of Articles 4 and following of Organic Law 16/2015, of 27 October, on the privileges and immunities of foreign states, the International Organizations with headquarters or office in Spain and the International Conferences and Meetings held in Spain, as well as by the provisions of Article 21 of the Organic Law 6/1985, of July 1, 1985, of the Judiciary – has been rejected by the Provincial Court, since it considers that “no claim or demand is made against a foreign State or its assets, and the appeal must be successful in order to assert the jurisdiction of the Spanish courts”.

The second of the reasons – because the claims of Central Santa Lucía L.C. are based on an claim against a property located in Cuba, the Spanish Courts having no jurisdiction in this case due to the exclusive competence in matters of real estate rights of the Courts of the place where the property is located, as provided for in Article 24.1 of Regulation (EU) 2012/2015 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 12 December 2012, on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (“Regulation 2012/1215”)has also been rejected, as the Provincial Court considered that “the claim of the plaintiff cannot be considered as related to property rights. It does not affect any of the rights which determine the application of the exclusive jurisdiction as interpreted by the Court of Justice but is based on possible unlawful enrichment attributed to the defendant for the operation of certain establishments located on the land which was “confiscated”. The nature of that action means that the Spanish authorities must be given jurisdiction to try the case”.

It therefore determines that “the general jurisdiction represented by the domicile of the defendant (Article 4 of Regulation No 2012/1215 ) and the alternative jurisdiction represented by the place where the harmful event occurred or is likely to occur (Article 7(2) of Regulation No 2012/1215 ) apply”.

In view of the foregoing, the Provincial Court concluded that “since the plaintiff had chosen from among the possible jurisdictions the one corresponding to the defendant’s place of residence, the jurisdiction of the Spanish courts must be declared”.

4. IRAN

• On 7 April 2020, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/510 and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/512 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending the Annex to Council Regulation (EU) 2011/359 and Article 6(2) and the Annex to Council Decision (CFSP) 2011/235 respectively.

These amendments update the list of sanctioned persons of Iranian nationality to a total of eighty-two (82) persons, due to their links with systematic human rights violations. Furthermore, it is agreed to extend until 13 April 2021 the restrictive measures consisting of:

a. Preventing certain persons from entering the territories of the Member States.

b. The freezing of all funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled by these persons.

c. The prohibition of the sale, supply, transfer and export of equipment and software intended for the monitoring or interception by the regime iraní́ of the Internet and telephone communications on fixed or mobile networks in Iran and the provision of assistance for the installation, use or maintenance of such equipment or software.

d. A prohibition on the sale, supply, transfer or export of equipment which might be used for internal repression, to Iran by nationals of Member States or from the territories of Member States.

5. MYANMAR/BURMA

• On 23 April 2020, Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/562 and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/563 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, amending Annex IV to Council Regulation (EU) 2013/401 and Article 12 and the Annex to Council Decision (CFSP) 2013/184 respectively

These amendments extend the restrictive measures against Myanmar/Burma until 30 April 2021 and update the information concerning one person listed in the above-mentioned Annexes (Than Oo) as being associated with serious violations of human rights.

6. NORTH KOREA

• On 20 April 2020, the Corrigendum to Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/548 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. These corrections amend the additional information contained in the Annex to the above-mentioned Regulation in points 72 and 73 concerning two naval entities of North Korean nationality.

7. YEMEN

• On 2 April 2020, Council Regulation (EU) 2020/488 amending Articles 3(1) and 13(1)(a) of Council Regulation (EU) 2014/1352 and introducing a new Article 3a thereof was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. On the same date, Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/490 amending Articles 2a(1)(c) and 2b(1)(c) of Council Decision (CFSP) 2014/932 was also published and a new Article 6a was inserted.

As a result of such amendments, Member States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the entry into their territories of persons responsible for violation of the arms embargo, the obstruction of the provision, access or distribution of humanitarian assistance to the country, and sexual violence in armed conflict or the recruitment or use of children in armed conflict as acts that jeopardise the peace, security or stability of that country, and shall freeze all their funds and economic resources.

However, exemptions to the freezing of funds and economic resources by the competent authorities of the Member States (with the necessary authorisation) are introduced, provided that the Sanctions Committee has determined, on a case-by-case basis, that an exemption is necessary to facilitate the work of the United Nations and other humanitarian organisations in Yemen.

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UNITED STATES

1. CUBA

• On April 17, 2020, in connection with the claims filed by Havana Docks Corporation (“Havana Docks”) against the cruise lines MSC Cruises SA CO, MSC Cruises (USA) INC. (“MSC Cruises”) and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (“Royal Caribbean Cruises”) (Havana Docks Corporation v. MSC Cruises SA CO. and MSC Cruises (USA) INC. and Havana Docks Corporation v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.) the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida have granted the plaintiff’s motion to reconsider its previous dismissals and allow the plaintiff to file a corrected complaint in both proceedings.

The aforementioned lawsuits were filed by Havana Docks on August 27, 2019 against MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises for, in the terminology of Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Freedom) Act of 1996 (“Helms-Burton Act”), “trafficking” in property “confiscated” by the Cuban Government, in this case in relation to certain properties located in the Port of Havana. Both defendants objected, arguing that Havana Docks did not have a property right to the land in question at the time it began operating on it, an argument that was accepted by the Court on 3 January 2020.

• On April 17, 2020, in connection with the lawsuit filed by Daniel A. Gonzalez with Amazon.com, INC. and Sushi International, INC. (“Amazon”) on March 11, 2020 before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (case Daniel A. Gonzalez vs. Amazon.com, INC. and Susshi International, INC.), the defendant has filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the plaintiff has not proven in a reliable manner its title to the property that entitles it to file a lawsuit under the aforementioned Title III of the Helms-Burton Act and that it has also not been able to prove that Amazon was aware that, in the terminology of the aforementioned law, it “trafficked” in “confiscated property” by marketing charcoal produced on certain lands located in the province of Granma and confiscated by the Cuban Government in 1959.

• On April 20, 2020, in connection with the lawsuit filed on January 14, 2010, before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Marlene Cueto Iglesias and Miriam Iglesias Álvarez against the alcoholic beverages company Pernod Ricard, Public Société Anonyme (“Pernod Ricard”) (the “Marlene Cuerto Iglesias and Miriam Iglesias Álvarez, both individuals, v. Pernod Ricard, Public Société Anonyme” case), the latter filed a motion to dismiss the aforementioned lawsuit. In the motion, the defendant alleges that the courts have no jurisdiction and that the plaintiffs have not proven that Pernod Ricard has “trafficked” in “property confiscated” by the Cuban government in the terms of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

The plaintiffs Marlene Cueto Iglesias and Miriam Iglesias Alvarez claim that in 1963 certain assets located in Havana and belonging to a Cuban cognac company called Cognac Cueto (the “Company” or “Cognac Cueto”) were expropriated by the Cuban Government. The Company eventually became a state-owned company and its distilled spirits assets were reconverted to the “Havana Club” rum brand when Pernod Ricard began operating in Cuba through a Joint Venture or “Empresa Mixta” with the state-owned Corporación Cuba Ron S.A. in 1993. The applicants claim that Pernod Ricard has since distributed Havana Club rum, which is derived in part from Cueto Cognac, and would therefore be “trafficking” in “confiscated property”.

• On April 20, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida upheld the exception filed on February 3 by Havana Docks to the motion filed by Carnival Corporation requesting the dismissal of the initial lawsuit (Havana Docks Corporation vs. Carnival Corporation D/B/A Carnival Cruise Lines).

The aforementioned lawsuit was filed on 2 May 2019 against Carnival Corporation for, in the terminology of the Helms-Burton Act, “trafficking” in “confiscated property” by the Cuban Government, in this case in relation to certain properties located in the Port of Havana. Carnival Corporation objected, arguing that Havana Docks did not hold a property right to the land in question at the time it began operating on it.

On August 28, 2019, the Court rejected this exception raised by Carnival Corporation. However, in connection with two other claims filed by Havana Docks, also under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, against MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines on similar grounds, the same Court did uphold the defenses raised by both defendants, which requested the dismissal of the claim on the same grounds alleged by Carnival Corporation. For this reason, Carnival Corporation raised the same objection again on 7 January 2020.

• On 24 April 2020, in relation to the lawsuit filed on 8 January 2020 by María Dolores Canto Martí against Iberostar Hoteles y Apartamentos S.L. (“Iberostar”) (case Maria Dolores Canto Martí, as personal representative of the Estates of Dolores Martí Mercadé and Fernando Canto Bory, vs. Iberostar Hoteles y Apartamentos S.L.), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida has allowed the exception raised by Iberostar, requesting a temporary suspension of the proceedings until the European Commission decides on the request filed on April 15, 2020 by the defendant before the aforementioned institution, in order to obtain an authorization to defend its interests against the aforementioned lawsuit and thus comply with the provisions of Article 5 of Council Regulation (EU) 1996/2271 of 22 November 1996 protecting against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country and against actions based thereon or resulting therefrom.

The plaintiff claims in the above-mentioned application that Iberostar, in the terminology of the aforementioned Title III of the Burton Act, ‘traffics’ in ‘confiscated property’ by operating since November 2016 the hotel ‘Iberostar Imperial Hotel’ on land located in Santiago de Cuba and expropriated by the Cuban Government in 1961.

• On April 24, 2020, the company Herederos de Roberto Gómez Cabrera LLC, before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, filed a lawsuit under the aforementioned Title III of the Helms-Burton Act against the Canadian mining company Teck Resources Limited (case of Herederos de Roberto Gómez Cabrera LLC vs Teck Resources Limited) for the mineral extraction activities that the latter has developed in lands located in the Sierra Maestra region and confiscated by the Cuban Government in 1960, activity which the plaintiff claims is equivalent to ‘trafficking’ in ‘confiscated property’ in the terminology of that Title III.

• On April 24, 2020, the Cuban-American Robert M. Glen filed a lawsuit before the United States District Court for the District of Delaware under the aforementioned Title III of the Helms-Burton Act against the multinational financial services companies Visa INC and its subsidiaries Visa U.S. A INC and Visa International Service Association (“Visa”), as well as against Mastercard Incorporated and its subsidiary Mastercard International Incorporated (“Mastercard”) (Robert M. Glen v. Visa INC, Visa U.S.A INC, Visa International Service Association, Mastercard Incorporated and Mastercard International Incorporated case).

The applicant claims that Visa and Mastercard, in the terminology of the aforementioned Act, ‘traffic’ in ‘confiscated property’ by operating payment processing networks that facilitate credit card transactions for the benefit of various hotel companies operating the Iberostar Tainos, Meliá Las Antillas, Blau Varadero and Starfish Varadero establishments, located on land confiscated by the Cuban Government in 1959.

Therefore, by allowing those hotel companies to charge their guests with a Visa or Mastercard branded credit card (and by obtaining revenue in relation to each payment made with those cards), the defendants would be carrying out a lucrative activity that would benefit from “confiscated property”.

• On April 24, 2020, the defendants of the aforementioned Havana Docks, pursuant to the aforementioned Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Lines, filed an “interlocutory appeal” in their respective proceedings before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, requesting that the corresponding Court of Appeal rule on the decision to allow Havana Docks to file a corrected complaint in its respective proceedings before the aforementioned defendants.

• As of April 30, 2020, twenty-five (25) claims have been filed under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act in U.S. courts against forty-four (44) defendants, some of whom are involved in more than one proceeding. It should be noted that twenty (20) of the plaintiffs are U.S. entities.

Among the defendants are eleven (11) travel-related websites, seven (7) companies operated by the Government of the Republic of Cuba, six (6) hotel companies, five (5) financial services multinationals, five (5) cruise lines, four (4) airlines, three (3) banks, two (2) e-commerce companies and one (1) alcoholic beverage producer.

2. RUSSIA

• On April 6, 2020, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added to the Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”) the Russian Imperial Movement, a supremacist white group of Russian nationality designated as a “terrorist organization”, and three (3) natural persons linked to that organization.

3. VENEZUELA

• On April 3, 2020 OFAC issued the Venezuela-related General License 13E authorizing certain activities involving Nynas AB until May 14, 2020.

• On April 10, 2020 OFAC issued the Venezuela-related General License 5, authorizing certain transactions related to Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA).

• On April 21, 2020, OFAC issued the Venezuela-related General License 8F, authorizing PdVSA to carry out the transactions necessary for the limited maintenance of essential operations and those others related to the cessation of operations with certain entities in Venezuela.

4. COLOMBIA

• On April 22, 2020, OFAC has removed from the SDN List one (1) entity and three (3) associated individuals, all of whom are Colombian nationals, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.

5. GUATEMALA

• On April 22, 2020, OFAC removed two (2) natural persons of Guatemalan nationality from the SDN List under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.

6. HONDURAS

• On April 22, 2020, OFAC has removed one (1) natural person of Honduran nationality from the SDN List under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.

7. LYBIA

• On April 22, 2020, OFAC made amendments to the SDN List with reference to five (5) natural persons of Libyan nationality within the scope of the Libyan Sanctions Regulations.

8. MALTA

• On 22 April 2020 OFAC made an amendment to the SDN List with reference to a vessel of Maltese nationality within the scope of Libyan Sanctions Regulations.

9. NORTH KOREA

• On April 9, 2020, OFAC published the Amended North Korea Sanctions Regulations which took effect the following day. This amendment is intended to continue the application of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.

10. UNITED KINGDOM

• On 22 April 2020 OFAC has removed three (3) British Nationals from the SDN List under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.

11. US PERSONS

• On April 22, 2020, OFAC removed two (2) U.S. entities from the SDN List under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.

 

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[1] Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/483 of 1 April 2020 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 imposing certain specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities associated with the ISIL (Daesh) and Al-Qaida organisations.

[2] Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/582 of 28 April 2020 implementing Article 17(1) of Regulation (EU) No 224/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in the Central African Republic.

[3] Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2020/584 of 28 April 2020 implementing Decision 2013/798/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against the Central African Republic.

[4] Article 4 of Regulation 2020/1215 states that “subject to this Regulation, persons domiciled in a Member State shall, whatever their nationality, be sued in the courts of that Member State”.

[5] Article 7.2 of Regulation 2020/1215 establishes that “a person domiciled in a Member State may be sued in another Member State (…) in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place whre the harmful event ocurred or may occur”.

[6]Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/510 of 7 April 2020 implementing Council Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 concerning restrictive measures against certain persons, entities and bodies, in view of the situation in Iran.

[7]Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/512 of 7 April 2020 amending Decision 2011/235/PES on restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities in view of the situation in Iran.

[8]Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/562 of 23 April 2020 implementing Council Regulation (EU) No 401/2013 concerning restrictive measures against Myanmar/Burma.
Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/563 of 23 April 2020 amending Decision 2013/184/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Myanmar/Burma.

[9] Corrigendum to Council implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/548 of 6 April 2018 implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 concerning restrictive measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

[10] Council Regulation (EU) 2020/488 of 2 April 2020 amending Regulation (EU) No 1352/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen.

[11] Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/490 of 2 April 2020 amending Decision 2014/932/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen.

[13] “No person referred to in Article 11 shall, directly or through a subsidiary or intermediary, actively or by deliberate omission, comply with any requirements or prohibitions, including requirements of foreign courts, based on or arising directly or indirectly from the legislative texts listed in the Annex or from actions based thereon or arising therefrom.

In accordance with the procedures referred to in Articles 7 and 8, persons shall be authorised to comply with all or part of these provisions in cases where non-compliance could seriously harm their interests or those of the Community. The criteria for the application of this provision shall be established in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 8. Where there is sufficient evidence that non-compliance could cause serious harm to a natural or legal person, the Commission shall urgently submit to the Comité́ referred to in Article 8 a proposal for measures to be taken in accordance with Regulation”.

 

In Madrid, on 4th May 2020
Department of Trade and International Sanctions

Authors: Ana Myriam Camacho and José Luis Iriarte

More Information:

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