Alert February 16, 2010

OFAC Issues Proposed Belarus Sanctions Regulations

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published proposed regulations (the “Belarus Regulations”) that would codify in the Code of Federal Regulations the Belarus sanctions put in place by Executive Order 13405 in June 2006. 

The Belarus Regulations, which generally track the prohibitions set forth in Executive Order 13405, block the property of any person determined by the Secretary of Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, (i) to be responsible for, or to have participated in, actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus; (ii) to be responsible for, or have participated in, human rights abuses related to political repression in Belarus; (iii) to be a senior‑level official (or family member or other closely linked person of a senior level official) who has engaged in public corruption related to Belarus; (iv) to have provided material assistance or support to such an individual or entity, or (v) to be owned, controlled by, or acts on behalf of such an individual or entity.  Any property or interest of such blocked persons may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or dealt in by any U.S. individual or entity.  Like the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators sanctions regulations adopted in 2009, the Belarus Regulations specify that the property and interests of any entity in which a blocked person owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, are also blocked, regardless of whether such a subsidiary of the blocked person has been specifically designated by OFAC under the Belarus Regulations. 

The Belarus Regulations, which are primarily a property blocking regime, do not impose the broader types of prohibitions established by OFAC’s more comprehensive sanctions programs, such as Cuba, Iran, and Sudan.  The Belarus Regulations’ prohibitions also do not apply to personal communications not involving the transfer of anything of value; subject to certain limited exceptions, to imports or exports of information or information materials; and to transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Belarus.