Navigating the complex landscape of global sanctions in 2024

Navigating the complex landscape of global sanctions in 2024

Sanctions play a crucial role in international diplomacy and law enforcement, ensuring that countries and entities adhere to international norms and regulations. Keeping up to date with the ever-evolving sanctions regulations, including OFAC’s 50% Rule and the EU’s new directives, remains a top priority for companies worldwide.

Napier AI, a next generation compliance platform, recently explored how the new OFAC 50% rule impacts compliance. 

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has been particularly active, issuing 19 new actions in March alone, targeting entities in Russia, Iran, Nicaragua, Syria, and the Balkans. The OFAC’s 50% Rule stipulates that any entity owned by a sanctioned subject by 50% or more, or in aggregate with other sanctioned subjects, falls under the same restrictions as those named on the SDN list.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) stipulates clearly that if a person or entity is a sanctioned subject and holds ownership of 50% or more in another entity, or cumulatively with other sanctioned subjects, that entity will also be subject to the same restrictions as those listed on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

This regulation necessitates rigorous due diligence to ascertain which businesses are off-limits. Depending on your company’s risk tolerance, you might need to consider any level of ownership by a sanctioned subject. Historical precedents reveal that even entities with as little as 10% ownership can unexpectedly become subject to sanctions or alter their ownership status, making the process of understanding ownership particularly challenging.

Amidst ongoing vigilance over third-party associations and the management of associated risks, the call for increased sanctions continues to intensify. Every day brings new reports of escalating conflicts worldwide, underscoring the constant and dynamic nature of global sanctions enforcement.

2024 saw the introduction of new, stricter sanctions regulations by the EU. The “EU sanctions: new rules to crack down on violations” directive aims to deter sanction violations by making them criminal offences, punishable by up to five years in prison across all member states. This initiative underscores the growing seriousness with which international regulations are being enforced.

Global cooperation on sanctions enforcement has also been evident. Recent coordinated actions by the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand against entities supporting the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and Hamas, highlight the international community’s commitment to upholding these regulations. These actions, including several against Hamas’s financial networks, demonstrate the expanding scope and reach of sanctions.

The discussion around sanctions is dynamic, with ongoing debates about their effectiveness and the challenges they pose. The ability to designate and enforce sanctions has been a tool for centuries and remains vital as international efforts continue to deter harmful activities globally. For businesses, staying compliant involves understanding the intricate details of these regulations and implementing robust screening tools to manage the associated risks.

Finally, addressing the challenges of maintaining a comprehensive sanctions list is crucial. Employing sophisticated Anti-Money Laundering (AML) platforms can help manage and monitor data effectively, ensuring compliance with international sanctions. These platforms, along with reliable data sources, are essential for businesses to navigate the complexities of sanctions and avoid potential legal consequences.

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