On August 9, 2021, President Biden signed a new Executive Order, Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Belarus, that expands the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13405 of June 16, 2006 (Blocking Property of Certain Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Belarus). The new EO was issued in response to the Belarusian regime’s participation in oppressive and harmful actions to suppress democracy in that country through its fraudulent presidential election on August 9, 2020 and the subsequent elimination of political opposition and civil society organizations as well as the regime’s disruption of international civil air travel. As a result, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed numerous designations of persons and entities in Belarus pursuant to the new EO and also issued Belarus General License 4. In addition, OFAC published frequently asked questions 916, 917 and 918 to clarify the provisions of the new EO and general license.
Belarus General License 4, issued pursuant to the new EO of August 9, 2021, temporarily allows any transaction and activity that is necessary to wind down transactions with Belaruskali OAO until December 8, 2021. The authorization also applies to any entity of which Belaruskali OAO owns a direct or indirect 50 percent or greater interest.
In FAQ 916, OFAC provides a general overview of the new EO, and makes clear that US property and interests in property belonging to persons and entities sanctioned under the new EO are blocked, and transactions with designated parties are generally prohibited unless authorized by OFAC; these prohibitions also apply to entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked person. According to FAQ 917, the new EO identified certain economic sectors in Belarus that will be targeted for blocking sanctions, including the defense sector, security sector, energy sector and others; however, the mere identification of a sector in the EO does not automatically block persons and entities that operate in that sector but only serves to provide notice that persons operating in the identified sectors risk exposure to sanctions. FAQ 918 provides a general overview of the provisions in Belarus General License 4.