Global Sanctions Lawyers

When sanctions are imposed, it is important to seek advice immediately. This will help you to avoid any financial losses and minimise the impact on your business.

We regularly advise on complex economic and export controls, national security reviews (CFIUS) and trade embargoes imposed by the United States and EU. We also provide assistance with licence applications and sanctions challenges.

Trade controls

In a world of interlocking export control and economic sanctions laws, the rules that govern your business can change rapidly and without warning. This can expose you to fines, liability and loss of business. We help you develop flexible, continuously monitored internal compliance systems that can react quickly to shifting regimes.

We help you understand and navigate complex international sanctions, export controls and anti-money laundering (AML) laws, and develop effective compliance strategies. Our lawyers can also assist you in defending your reputation and business in the face of government investigations.

We regularly advise on US OFAC, UN and other multilateral trade and financial sanctions and embargoes administered by national authorities, the EU and other jurisdictions worldwide. In addition, we advise on the impact of US unilateral trade sanctions and export controls including the'maximum pressure' campaign against Iran and Russia, continuing sanctions against Venezuela and enhanced enforcement against North Korea. We also help you comply with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related implementing legislation.

Economic sanctions

Economic sanctions are commercial and financial penalties imposed against countries, governments, companies, groups, or individuals for foreign- and security-policy purposes. They may be broad, encompassing an entire country or government, such as the U.S. embargo on Cuba, or targeted, blocking transactions with certain companies or individuals.

Experts say that effective sanctions must be both credible and flexible. They must be tied to a clear policy goal and include attainable steps that the target can take to ease them. Otherwise, the United States and other countries will be viewed as inflexible bullies. They should also set attainable goals and include exceptions that minimize harm to innocents.

Another important aspect of sanctions is securing multilateral support. As the CFR points out, when governments band together on a sanctions program, it’s more likely to be successful. Moreover, when the target state sees other governments on board, it is less likely to fight back. This is why it is critical to include both freezing assets and political aid conditionality in future programs.

Counter-terrorism measures

Since 9/11, the world has refocused its efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and stop the spread of violent extremism. Increasingly, Security Council resolutions emphasize that States must deny terrorists safe haven and financial support and prosecute those responsible for such acts.

Moreover, these regimes have evolved to include preventive measures that address the root causes of terrorism by addressing issues such as unresolved conflicts, dehumanization of victims and lack of good governance. It is crucial that all relevant measures are taken in line with international legal obligations, including human rights law.

As the global landscape continues to evolve, it is critical that multinational companies remain compliant with domestic, regional and multilateral sanctions regimes around the world. Our international sanctions and export control lawyers assist clients in navigating complex, ever-changing national, EU and UN sanctions laws. This includes conducting related due diligence and negotiating sanctions representations in connection with global mergers and acquisitions, as well as conducting compliance audits and investigations on an ongoing basis.

Politically-motivated sanctions

Sanctions are blunt instruments that can have unintended, undesirable consequences. For example, economic sanctions that harm the population can have perverse effects such as bolstering authoritarian regimes and triggering large scale emigration. They also allow governments to better control the distribution of resources by creating scarcity.

In addition to promoting democracy, human rights, and market access, global sanctions can discourage weapons of mass destruction, thwart drug trafficking, and prevent armed aggression. They can also be employed to impose sanctions on individuals, companies, or other organizations that violate international law. These measures include arms embargoes, foreign assistance cutoffs and reductions, export and import restrictions, revocation of most-favored nation trade status, visa denials, and the withholding of diplomatic relations.

David Baldwin argues that political motivation is an important factor in the effectiveness of sanctions. He argues that economic sanctions are sometimes used without any specific policy or behaviour change in mind, but rather as a means of sending a signal to the target state. He contends that such signals can affect beliefs, attitudes, opinions, expectations, emotions, and propensities to act.