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EU expands financial sanctions against Belarus and adds Russia maritime equipment and capital market restrictions

Authored by our Global Sanctions Team

On 9 March, the EU added various new financial restrictions in relation to Belarus, including a SWIFT ban on three Belarusian banks. In relation to Russia, the EU added trade restrictions on maritime navigation equipment and technology, and expanded the capital market sanctions. New EU asset freeze designations were also added on 9 and 11 March.

 

Additional EU Sanctions against Russia

New Asset Freezes

On 9 and 11 March 2022, the EU published various new asset freeze designations in relation to Russia.1 Among them are the Russian businesspersons Alexander Vinokurov, Vladimir Kiriyenko, Alexander and Dmitry Pumpyansky, Andrey Melnichenko, Mikhail Oseevsky, Dmitry Konov and Dmitry Mazepin.

Capital Market Restrictions and Crypto Asset Clarification

In place since 2014, the EU's capital market sanctions prohibit dealings involving new debt (loans and credit) and equity issued by certain listed Russian banks, Russian corporations, and certain of their affiliates. They were recently amended to cover more banks and corporations, and capital market instruments of any maturity.2

As of 9 March 2022, the EU capital market sanctions were extended to also cover Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and certain of its affiliates.3 In addition, the EU has clarified that the capital market sanctions targeting the Central Bank of Russia also target the Russian National Wealth Fund.

Note that, as per amendment and clarification of 9 March 2022, covered equity instruments in the form of transferable securities also include crypto assets (which are covered by the debt restrictions also). This applies to the EU capital market sanctions imposed in relation to Belarus too (see below).

Trade Restrictions on Maritime Navigation Equipment and Technology

On 9 March 2022, the EU also added trade restrictions targeting the Russian maritime sector.4 This new EU export ban prohibits the sale, supply, transfer or export, directly or indirectly, of listed maritime navigation equipment and technology, covering a wide range of navigation radio-communication equipment, (regardless of origin) to any person in Russia, for use in Russia, but also for the placing on board of a Russian-flagged vessel. The export ban also includes related technical assistance, brokering services, other services, financing and financial assistance. Certain limited exceptions apply, including if the items are intended for maritime safety and subject to authorization by the competent national authority.

 

Additional EU Sanctions against Belarus5

SWIFT ban

Similar to the EU's ban on SWIFT services to seven Russian banks as of 12 March 2022,6 the EU has banned three Belarus banks from SWIFT, along with any Belarusian entities directly or indirectly majority owned by them, as of 20 March 2022. These are:

  • Belagroprombank,
  • Bank Dabrabyt, and
  • Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus.

Transferable Security Restrictions

As of 9 March 2022, EU central securities depositories may no longer provide services for transferable securities issued after 12 April 2022 to any Belarusian persons or entities (with limited exceptions). It is also prohibited to sell euro denominated transferable securities to Belarusian nationals, residents or entities after that date. Also as of 12 April 2022, EU trading venues must no longer list or provide services in relation to shares of entities majority owned by the Belarusian state.

Central Bank Restrictions

Similarly to measures imposed against Russia,7 on 9 March, the EU imposed a prohibition on transactions involving the Central Bank of Belarus where they are related to the management of its reserves or assets.

Deposits, Public Trade Financing and Banknotes

The EU imposed various other financial restrictions in relation to Belarus:

  • EU banks can no longer accept deposits exceeding €100 000 from Belarusian nationals or residents. Limited exceptions apply for nationals or residents of a Member State, of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland. Certain exceptions apply, subject to authorization by the competent national authority.
  • The provision of public financing for trade with or investment in Belarus is prohibited, except for prior binding financing commitments, trade in food or for agricultural, medical or humanitarian purposes. Financing up to EUR 10 million per project is still allowed to SMEs established in the EU.
  • EU persons cannot sell, supply, transfer or export euro-denominated banknotes to Belarus, including to any natural or legal person in Belarus and for use in Belarus. Only very limited exceptions apply.

 

1 See Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/396 of 9 March 2022 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/408 of 10 March 2022
2 See our previous alert for more details here.
3 See Council Regulation (EU) 2022/394 of 9 March 2022.
4 See Council Regulation (EU) 2022/394 of 9 March 2022.
5 See Council Regulation (EU) 2022/398 of 9 March 2022
6 See our previous alert for more details here.
7 See our previous alert for more details here.

 

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