On March 15, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated four individuals and one entity pursuant to the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (the Russia Magnitsky Act). Sergei Magnitsky was an attorney and auditor who was considered a whistleblower for uncovering a significant tax fraud scheme perpetrated by certain Russian officials. As a result, Magnitsky was arrested and detained by Russian authorities shortly after testifying against these officials in 2008, and he died in 2009 after being subjected for physical and psychological abuse while being detained in a pretrial detention center in Moscow. The Russia Magnitsky Act was passed by Congress in 2012 to enable the US to sanction those involved in Magnitsky’s death or involved in gross violations of human rights in Russia. One of the newly-designated individuals was a judge in Moscow who, according to OFAC, participated in efforts to conceal the legal liability for Magnitsky’s detention, abuse or death. The other Magnitsky designees were sanctioned for their connection to human rights violations in Russia against Oyub Titiev, a prominent human rights defender who was wrongfully detained and convicted in Russia in 2017 on fabricated drug charges and was granted parole in 2019.
OFAC also re-designated the leader of the corrupt Belarusian government, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and his wife pursuant to Executive Order 13405, which targets persons who threaten or undermine democratic processes or institutions in Belarus. OFAC reports that Lukashenka was re-designated for providing his inner circle and members of his regime with unique governmental privileges and advantages while using the same devices to punish businesses and entrepreneurs that support his political opponents. Lukashenka, who was initially designated under EO 13405 in 2006, was re-designated under the same authority for being a senior-level official who engaged in public corruption related to Belarus. Lukashenka’s wife was designated pursuant to EO 13405 for being a family member of a an official who has engaged in public corruption related to Belarus.