New Sanctions on North Korea
Following the February 7, 2016 missile launch by North Korea, additional sanctions have been imposed by the US Government. The new sanctions impose a complete ban on all exports of goods and services to North Korea. The new sanctions read in part:
Sec. 3. (a) The following are prohibited:
(i) the exportation or re-exportation, direct or indirect, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to North Korea;
The new sanctions don’t add significantly to the restrictions that were already in place. Under the prior restrictions, the U.S. Commerce Department would allow food and medicine exports to North Korea, and exports of all other items (other than luxury items) on a case-by-case basis. And, although the new sanctions state a complete ban on all exports to North Korea, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued nine new general licenses which authorize mail and telecommunications services to North Korea. In addition, the usual exceptions on exports of emergency medical services, legal services, intellectual property services, and personal financial remittances remain. So much for a complete ban on the export of goods and services to North Korea.
Gun Laundering Takes a New Turn
Richmond Attah, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was indicted on February 18, 2016 for attempting to export 27 handguns and 3500 rounds of ammunition without a required export license. The illicit cargo was hidden in a washing machine, a clothes dryer and a barrel. Destined to Ghana, the firearms and ammunition were discovered by U.S. Customs officials in Savannah, Georgia.
A criminal conviction requires proof that the defendant knew that he or she was violating the law in connection with the unlicensed export. Given that the 27 handguns were put into a washer and dryer bound for Ghana may make it difficult to argue that the defendant was ignorant of the law.
Travelling to Cuba?
Planning a trip to Cuba? Recent announcements from the US Government make it appear that travel to and from Cuba is now unrestricted, but this guidance is not accurate. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has expanded general licenses for U.S. citizens to visit the Caribbean country without a sponsoring organization. Travel to Cuba is allowed under a “people-to-people” general license, as long as the travel includes a “full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba.” Drinking mojitos and lounging on the beach do not qualify as an ‘education exchange activity.” More importantly, under the rules for the people-to-people license, the individual traveler will need to “retain records sufficient to demonstrate” a “full-time schedule of activities” that result in a meaningful interaction with Cubans. Failure to retain adequate records could result in potential civil fines and although unlikely, potential criminal charges.