December 3, 2021

OFAC issues new Belarus-related designations as part of coordinated sanctions with UK, EU and Canada, and issues Directive 1, general license 5 and FAQs for additional guidance

On December 2, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated 20 individuals and 12 entities that have contributed to the Lukashenko regime’s engagement in corruption, human rights abuses and inhumane exploitation of migrant people in Belarus by supporting the ongoing practice of smuggling migrants out of Belarus and into the European Union. OFAC also identified 3 aircraft as blocked property.  All OFAC designations were issued pursuant to Executive Order 14038 and 13405, and as a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of today’s designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.

These actions were taken as part of a coordinated effort between the US, UK, EU and Canada to target the Lukashenko regime and its supporters for its continued disregard for international law and ongoing human rights violations in Belarus.  On December 2, 2021, the UK, US, EU and Canada issued a joint statement demanding that Belarus halt the irregular migration occurring across borders with the EU and calling for the immediate release of almost 900 political prisoners, an end to its campaign of repression, and for the regime to engage in comprehensive dialogue with representatives of the democratic opposition and civil society.

As part of the coordinated international response to the Lukashenko regime, the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office imposed new sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on 8 individuals responsible for the repression in Belarus and 1 entity that has been a major source of revenue and foreign currency for the regime.

In an additional effort to hold the Lukashenko regime accountable and to align with recent actions taken by US partners and allies, OFAC published Directive 1 under Executive Order 14038, “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Belarus” to prohibit all transactions by US persons involving new debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days issued on or after December 2, 2021 by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus.  

OFAC also issued Belarus General License 5 to authorize, until April 1, 2022, any activity necessary to wind down transactions involving the newly-designated Open Joint Stock Company Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) or Agrorozkvit LLC or any entity in which these companies own a 50 percent or greater interest. This includes wind down transactions in which Belaruskali OAO has a property interest.  

Finally, OFAC updated new frequently asked question 918 by issuing ten new frequently asked questions (FAQs 939 – 948) to provide additional clarity for the provisions set out in the Directive 1 and GL5.

US Department of Treasury Press Release | Joint Statement by UK, US, EU and Canada | UK FCDO Press Release | US Department of Treasury Recent Action (links to FAQs 939-948) | OFAC Directive 1 under EO 14038 | General License 5