UK Weekly Sanctions Update - Week Of May 6, 2024

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In this weekly update, we summarise the most notable updates in the UK sanctions world.
UK International Law
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In this weekly update, we summarise the most notable updates in the UK sanctions world. If you have any questions in respect of any of the developments set out below, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our London Global and Government Trade team listed above.

1. Russia Sanctions

  • The UK Treasury Committee ongoing inquiry into the UK's financial sanctions against Russia: On May 14, 2024, the Treasury Committee will hold its second oral evidence session in relation to its inquiry as to the effectiveness of UK financial sanctions targeting Russia. Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and Head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, is among the experts called to give evidence. The first oral evidence session, which took places on 30 April 2024, involved a panel of experts from Transparency International UK, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and Redress. (https://committees.parliament.uk/event/21613 ).
  • UK High Court holds that sanctions did not frustrate LCIA arbitration agreement: On May 10, 2024, in Barclays v VEB.RF [2024] EWHC 1074 (Comm), the UK High Court determined that sanctions targeting Russia had not frustrated an agreement between Barclays and VEB to use LCIA arbitration (as submitted by VEB). The High Court highlighted "the need for the court to uphold UK sanctions which are part of English law" and acknowledged that VEB started Russian proceedings in breach of the arbitration agreement in order to get around the effect of sanctions. The High Court granted an anti-suit injunction to Barclays against those Russian proceedings. (High Court Judgment Template (nationalarchives.gov.uk).
  • UK Government amends one entry on the UK sanctions list under the Russia regime: On May 8, 2024, the UK Government made an amendment to the entry for Said Mikhailovich Gutseriev on the UK sanctions list under the Russia regime. Gutseriev is still subject to an asset freeze and trust services sanctions. (Notice_Russia_080524.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)).
  • UK High Court assesses that asset freeze restrictions are engaged where a company is proved (rather than suspected) to be owned or controlled by a designated person: On May 3, 2024, in Vneshprombank v Bedzhamov [2024] EWHC 1048 (Ch), the UK High Court considered an application for a declaration as to whether there is reasonable cause to suspect that A1 LLC is owned or controlled by a designated person. A1 LLC was sold to an employee around the time its previous shareholders (Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev) were designated as UK assets freeze targets. As a matter of construction, the Court found that the UK Regulations are not engaged where there is reasonable ground to suspect that an entity is owned or controlled by a designated person, and that, for the UK Regulations to be engaged ownership and/or control must be proven as a matter of fact. Although the application by Bedzhamov was ultimately dismissed, the Court did state [at 125] that, were the test "reasonable cause to suspect", it would be met on the facts of the case. (Vneshprombank -v- Bedzhamov (judiciary.uk)).

2. Cyber Sanctions

3. Other Sanctions

  • UK Government hosts senior US government delegation for the second United States-UK Strategic Sanctions Dialogue: On May 8, 2024, the UK government hosted a senior US government delegation for the second US-UK Strategic Sanctions Dialogue. In their talks, both nations reaffirmed that sanctions and export controls are essential tools of national security policy and that they will continue to intensify their coordination on United Nations and autonomous sanctions regimes, bilaterally and with other partners. (Second US-UK Strategic Sanctions Dialogue: joint statement - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).
  • UK Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) updates export control guidance: On May 7, 2024, the ECJU updated its export control guidance in relation to goods that can be used for torture or capital punishment. The ECJU added links to annexes, updated links to legislation frameworks updated and changed references to DIT to DBT. ( Export controls: torture and capital punishment goods - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)).

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This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

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