Sanctions (Restrictive Measures) on Russia and Belarus over Ukraine

ukraine statement law society

Solicitors will no doubt already be aware of the new sanctions being introduced across the EU on Russia and Belarus over Ukraine. Sanctions have been a key tool in the fight against terrorism and typically are considered by firms in the context of their anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programmes. This webpage has been developed to help solicitors respond to the sanctions which are now rapidly increasing in number and scope, are being introduced at a speed never before experienced, have wide-reaching effect on individuals, countries and trade and are binding on all natural and legal persons. The webpage contains information and helpful resources to ensure compliance with sanctions. 

The Central Bank, as the competent authority for financial sanctions, has also compiled a very detailed information note for sectors which the Society has been asked to bring to the attention of all solicitors.

The Department of Foreign Affairs describes sanctions as measures which can cover a wide variety of elements such as financial services (e.g. asset freezes), immigration (e.g. visa and travel bans) and trade (e.g. export restrictions).The Russian invasion of Ukraine currently applies restrictive measures to hundreds of individuals and entities, include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. Export arms and related material and related technical or financial assistance and services are also prohibited. The sale, supply, transfer or export of dual use goods and technology together with the provision of related technical or financial assistance. The making or participation of specific types of loan or credit arrangements as well as any transaction or dealing with certain financial instruments.

It is a criminal offence to not comply with these sanctions and failure to do so could also result in severe reputational damage. The legal profession also need to be extra alert due to the risk that countries/people subject to sanctions may start looking for ways to move assets to avoid sanctions. Solicitors should make compliance with these sanctions a top priority.

Access key information using the links below:

Law Society Recommended Approach to Ensuring Compliance with Sanctions (restrictive measures) on Russia and Belarus over Ukraine

Due to the inherent nature of sanctions, their rapid expansion, the variety of legal services they may apply to, there is no definitive one-size-fits all approach. Initial key steps will likely be to;

  1. Learn more about the scope and impact of sanctions.
  2. Consider whether legal services or payments have been, are or are about to be provided to clients or third parties from or connected to Russia/Belarus. Document the outcome.
  3. If your firm may be exposed to Russia/Belarus, check sanctions lists, identify relevant law and ensure you comply if any hits are found. Document the steps taken.
  4. Ensure all relevant staff are aware of and fully understand their obligations in respect of the sanctions regime.
  5. Keep up-to-date as new sanctions emerge.

These steps have been designed to help sole practitioners and small/medium firms. The business model of these firms is typically national focused, for example, conveyances where the source of funds is mortgages from Irish pillar banks or the sale of property in Ireland. It is unlikely that these firms would need to screen every client against sanctions lists. Large firms will already have systems in place to screen clients via commercial providers.

By following these steps, your firm will have effectively developed an up-to-date sanctions risk assessment as well as a policy on sanctions compliance. It is important to capture the risks assessed and steps taken to be able to demonstrate compliance. Document the steps you take under each of the 5 suggested key steps. 

1. Learn more about the scope and impact of these sanctions

The EU’s Infographic on Sanctions Against Russia Over Ukraine is an excellent resource. It visualises the six sectors of the Russian economy which are affected. 

 

Summaries of all EU sanctions regimes are available on the EU Sanctions Map website.

The Department of Foreign Affairs website provides detailed information about restrictive measures/sanctions. They explain that EU Regulations have direct effect in Irish law, meaning that they must be complied with in the same way as domestic Irish legislation. Penalties for the breach of such EU Regulations are provided for through the enactment of Statutory Instruments, predominantly under the European Communities Act 1972 (as amended).

Within the EU, each Member State is required to designate competent authorities that are engaged with sanctions issues. At the moment, in Ireland, the three competent authorities are: the Department of Foreign Affairs; the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; and the Central Bank of Ireland.

Given recent events in Ukraine, the following webpages are constantly being updated by relevant competent authorities:

View also the latest updates from the Department of Finance. Queries may also be directed to the relevant competent authority, using the contact details they provide via the above links.

2. Consider whether legal services or payments have been, are or are about to be provided to clients, entities or third parties from or connected to Russia/Belarus. Document the outcome.

Solicitors should consider the potential applicability of the sanctions on the legal services they provide. Sole practitioners and small to medium firms typically personally know their clients and will be able to tap into this knowledge when considering potential exposure to sanctions. Document the outcome of your thought process about the potential exposure of your firm to new sanctions.

The Law Society of England and Wales provides the following guidance with regard to UK sanctions:

You may apply a risk-based approach to setting up a system that checks your clients against the sanctions lists.

Factors that may increase the risk of a person being on the sanctions list, and so increase the reason for checking the list, include:

  • clients or transactions with links to jurisdictions subject to sanctions, even if the clients are based locally
  • clients or transactions involving politically exposed persons (PEPs)from jurisdictions subject to sanctions
  • clients or transactions involving complex corporate structures in jurisdictions with high terrorist financing risks
  • clients who seem unable to receive funds or send funds from a bank account in their name, for no good reason

The Law Society of England and Wales provides the following indicators of sanctions evasion risk:

  • Russian clients communicating changes to the beneficial ownership of their private investment companies (PICs) to non-Russian or dual national family members
  • Requests to transfer assets between Russian national/dual-national family members
  • Use of trust arrangements, with circumstances of transfers calling into question whether the original owner retains indirect control or otherwise could retain a benefit from the assets transferred
  • Assets transferred have usually been shares in companies, both UK and overseas, including both minority and controlling stakes in these businesses
  • Payments from venture capital and private equity vehicles, many located in offshore jurisdictions or the far east
  • Clients seeking to move all their assets to other financial institutions and closing their accounts in London
  • Clients domiciled in Russia asking whether they can make transfers to their London account
  • Attempts to purchase sanctioned Russian securities, which have drastically fallen in price
  • Increased volume of transaction monitoring alerts resulting from Russian and Ukrainian clients making and receiving larger transfers than is typical
  • Payments received by UK businesses, often in innovative areas, also with some elements of ownership by Russia nationals
  • Payments via a fintech with Russian investor nexus
  • Research on private equity/venture capital vehicles and some people with significant control/officers of UK businesses showing individuals connected to Russian industry previously subject to sectoral sanctions and on occasion politically exposed persons (PEPs)
  • Russian high net worth individuals who are already on international sanctions lists (but not UK list) and/or who anticipate that they may become a sanctions target, transferring assets to family members and/or close associates such as employees
  • Change in address and names for Russian entities one day prior to invasion
  • Change of ultimate beneficial owners from Russian to other nationalities
  • Circumvention attempts through open account trade-based money laundering (TBML) typology – for example, increase in third-party open account payments

3. If your firm may be exposed to Russia/Belarus, check sanctions lists, identify relevant law and ensure you comply if any hits are found. Document the steps taken.

The Law Society of England and Wales recommends that, if your firm has a low general risk of working for clients on the sanctions list, but individual clients have higher risks, those clients should be checked against the sanctions lists. 

If you have a high risk of clients being on sanctions lists, the Law Society of England and Wales advised the following:

If your firm has a higher risk of dealing with clients on the sanctions list, you may want to use an e-verifier. These services incorporate the sanctions list into the databases they use to check identity information.

If you have a high risk of dealing with clients on the sanctions list, you should also have processes in place to help you find out whether key beneficial owners, or the intended recipient of funds from a transaction you’re undertaking, are subject to the restrictions.

An excellent resource is the EU’s free consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions, updated on a regular basis, which can be found here

Use the search function in pdf to search by name (the pdf is hundreds of pages long). This will identify the applicable Regulation – which tend to be lists of sanctioned individuals. The applicable Regulation will identify the Regulation containing the sanctioning powers. Therefore, typically, you will be looking for two Regulations.

Example of how to find the Regulation naming an individual sanctioned

If you search the name Vladimir Putin EU on the consolidated list available here the following information is provided:

EU reference number: EU.7510.16

Legal basis: 2022/332 (OJ L53)

Programme: UKR - Ukraine

Identity information:

  • Name/Alias: Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN Function: President of the Russian Federation
  • Name/Alias: Влади́мир Влади́мирович ПУ́ТИН
  • Name/Alias: Vladimir Vladimirovitj PUTIN
  • Name/Alias: Vladimir Vladimirovich POUTINE

Birth information:

  • Birth date: 07/10/1952 Birth place: Russian Federation, Leningrad (now Saint-Petersburg) Remark: Leningrad (now Saint-Petersburg), ex

USSR (now Russian Federation)

Click on the ‘Legal Basis’ link 2022/332 (OJ L53) and download the Regulation. 

Here is a link to the pdf of the applicable Regulation in English which lists Vladimir Putin alongside many other names. Article 1 applies persons listed to Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 which is one of many Regulations which set out the EU’s specific sanctioning powers.

Example of the types of legal powers in Regulations

Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 is one of a number of key EU regulations.

Definitions include:

  • 'economic resources' means assets of every kind, whether tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, which are not funds but may be used to obtain funds, goods or services;
  • 'freezing of economic resources' means preventing the use of economic resources to obtain funds, goods or services in any way, including, but not limited to, by selling, hiring or mortgaging them;
  • 'freezing of funds' means preventing any move, transfer, alteration, use of, access to, or dealing with funds in any way that would result in any change in their volume, amount, location, ownership, possession, character, destination or any other change that would enable the funds to be used, including portfolio management;
  • 'funds' means financial assets and benefits of every kind, including, but not limited to:
    • cash, cheques, claims on money, drafts, money orders and other payment instruments;
    • deposits with financial institutions or other entities, balances on accounts, debts and debt obligations;
    • publicly- and privately-traded securities and debt instruments, including stocks and shares, certificates representing securities, bonds, notes, warrants, debentures and derivatives contracts;
    • interest, dividends or other income on or value accruing from or generated by assets; credit, right of set-off, guarantees, performance bonds or other financial commitments;
    • letters of credit, bills of lading, bills of sale; and
    • documents showing evidence of an interest in funds or financial resources;

Article 2 explains what not to do with the funds/resources:

  1. All funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled by any natural persons or natural or legal persons, entities or bodies associated with them as listed in Annex I shall be frozen.
  2. No funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of natural persons or natural or legal persons, entities or bodes associated with them listed in Annex I.

Article 8 outlines the duty to report to relevant competent authorities:

Without prejudice to the applicable rules concerning reporting, confidentiality and professional secrecy, natural and legal persons, entities and bodies shall:

  • (a) supply immediately any information which would facilitate compliance with this Regulation, such as information on accounts and amounts frozen in accordance with Article 2, to the competent authority of the Member State where they are resident or located, and shall transmit such information, directly or through the Member State, to the Commission; and
  • (b) cooperate with the competent authority in any verification of such information.

Article 9 requires member states to create an offence of knowingly and intentionally participating in activities the object or effect of which is to circumvent the measures referred to in Article 2.

Article 10 contains provisions with regard to liability and a defence.

  1. The freezing of funds and economic resources or the refusal to make funds or economic resources available, carried out in good faith on the basis that such action is in accordance with this Regulation, shall not give rise to liability of any kind on the part of the natural or legal person or entity or body implementing it, or its directors or employees, unless it is proved that the funds and economic resources were frozen or withheld as a result of negligence.
  2. Actions by natural or legal persons, entities or bodies shall not give rise to any liability of any kind on their part if they did not know, and had no reasonable cause to suspect, that their actions would infringe the measures set out in this Regulation.

Article 16 requires member states to list competent authorities on relevant websites. As of 4 March 2022, the Central Bank and the Department of Foreign Affairs are currently listed.

Example of offence in Irish law of failing to comply with a sanction

Irish implementing Statutory Instruments typically provide for the following;

(1) an offence of contravening the European Regulation liable to

(a) on summary conviction, to a class A fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both.

What to do if you get a ‘hit’ on a sanctions list?

The Central Bank’s guidance for the financial sector recommends the following:

Where a customer’s name matches a person on the relevant lists, Firms should take steps to identify whether a name match is real or if it is a ‘false positive’,(for example; a customer has the same or similar name but is not the same person).

Firms should have procedures that look at a range of identifier information such as name, date of birth, address or other customer data. [Paragraph 10.3.4, Central Bank AML Guidance]

The Central Bank’s guidance further recommends:

Once a person or entity has been sanctioned under EU Financial Sanctions, there is a legal obligation not to transfer funds or make funds or economic resources available, directly or indirectly, to that person or entity.

In the event that a match or a 'hit' occurs against a sanctioned individual or entity, firms must immediately freeze the account and/or stop the transaction and immediately report the hit to the Central Bank along with other relevant information. In certain circumstances, Firms can make a transfer to a sanctioned individual or entity if a prior authorisation is received or notification is given to a competent authority. [Paragraph 10.3, Central Bank AML Guidance]

You can report the “hit” to the Central Bank by email to sanctions@centralbank.ie, using the Sanctions Return Form. For further information on sanctions reporting, please visit the Central Bank’s dedicated Sanctions Reporting webpage.

For further information on derogations, please visit the Central Bank’s dedicated Derogations webpage.

Competent Authority contact details:

Financial Sanctions

The Central Bank is the Competent Authority for financial sanctions. E-mail: sanctions@centralbank.ie, The Central Bank also has a Sanctions Return Form.

Trade Prohibitions

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is responsible for enforcing trade-related sanctions. If you have any queries regarding trade sanctions please contact the Trade Licensing and Control Unit. Email: exportcontrol@enterprise.gov.ie. Tel: +353 1 631 2328

The Law Society is not a competent authority for sanctions. Solicitors are welcome to contact the Society by emailing aml@lawsociety.ie, however, financial sanctions is a complex area of law and any solicitor who is unsure of their legal obligations should seek legal advice. The Society cannot confirm the adequacy of approach in specific circumstances and legal advice cannot be provided.

4. Ensure all relevant staff are aware of and fully understand their obligations in respect of the sanctions regime.

Document the way in which you ensure all relevant staff in your firm are informed about sanctions, for example, staff meetings to discuss your approach, guidance and how you will stay up-to-date.

5. Keep up-to-date as new sanctions emerge

The Solicitors Regulation Authority in the UK recommends the following:

If firms have undertaken sanctions checks as part of customer due diligence when taking on the client and there has then been a period of time before a transaction takes place … it’s helpful to re-check the sanctions list ahead of the transaction completing because individuals may have been added to the list in the interim.

If your firm is using an electronic verification system for customer due diligence and sanctions checks, check they are refreshing sanctions lists with sufficient frequency.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority in the UK has highlighted the importance of re-checking sanctions lists if there is a period of time before a transaction takes place:

The situation in Ukraine is very fast moving and this has meant that there have been frequent additions to the sanctions lists. The sanctions lists are frequently updated, and we are experiencing an unusual and fast pace of change at the moment.

If firms have undertaken sanctions checks as part of customer due diligence when taking on the client and there has then been a period of time before a transaction takes place, we would remind firms that it’s helpful to re-check the sanctions list ahead of the transaction completing because individuals may have been added to the list in the interim.

If your firm is using an electronic verification system for customer due diligence and sanctions checks, check they are refreshing sanctions lists with sufficient frequency.

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Your relationship with your client after you confirm they are on a sanctions list

As the legal profession races to ensure compliance with so many new sanctions, solicitors, like many other industries, are considering ways to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the UK, for example:

  • some solicitors are refusing to work for sanctioned individuals
  • some firms are going beyond sanctions and are ceasing all Russian work (commercial and private client)
  • some solicitors are representing sanctioned individuals challenging the legality of sanctions

In Ireland, similar responses are being taken by firms likely in the context of Russian commercial work. In the context of representing individuals, the legal profession is the gatekeeper of access to justice in functioning democracies and are officers of the court. Solicitors will ensure that any person, irrespective of their nationality, has the ability to access legal advice and representation. The legal profession will continue to ensure access to justice via legal representation to Russian people living in the Ireland especially to Russian people who are not subject to sanctions and have no connection with the actions of the Russian state. For example, in the future, the legal profession may need to represent people with similar names to sanctioned individuals whose assets might be accidentally frozen. Also, people may become indirectly affected, for example, children or employees and they may also need legal representation. Our own democratic values require the legal profession to provide these types of legal advice and representation and, when they do, it will be important for them not to be identified with their client; something which has in the past been especially problematic for criminal defence lawyers.

At the same time, it is essential that solicitors acting for Russian business or sanctioned individuals comply with the sanctions and it is hoped that this updated information on sanctions will help the profession. Information about how the Society will ensure compliance through its supervision activities can be viewed here

The Solicitors Regulation Authority in the UK recently provided the following further information with regard to ceasing/continuing to act for a client in the UK:

Even if a client is not on the sanction list, many firms are reviewing their client lists and considering who they feel comfortable acting for.

This is highly unlikely to be a regulatory matter. The general position is that firms can choose who they act for, and can choose not to act for any reason (unless unlawful, for example under equalities legislation). The question of terminating a current retainer is one for the common law, and turns on whether there is a 'good reason' for the termination.

The current situation with the conflict in Ukraine is clearly novel, and whether there is a 'good reason' for terminating a client retainer in response will be a matter for the courts to decide, on the individual facts. Either way, from a regulatory point of view, our concern is to ensure that the firm has carefully considered the legal position and also understood and mitigated any risks to the client.

Where solicitors have concerns about money laundering, they will need to consider their duty to make a suspicious transaction report to Ireland’s Financial Intelligence Unit and the Revenue. AML resources can be accessed by visiting www.lawsociety.ie/aml.

Authorisations/Derogations under Financial Sanctions

In the UK, there is an Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) which can grant licences on a case-by-case basis exempting certain transactions from financial restrictions. OFSI have also issued licences that govern certain situations such as the use of legal aid payments. Guidance on these in the UK is available online – see ‘Fees for the provision of legal services’ on page 27.

The Central Bank of Ireland’s webpages on sanctions provide the following information in relation to derogations.

In certain specific circumstances (which are set out in the relevant Regulations), a person may be authorised to make a transfer to a sanctioned person, entity or body if a prior authorisation is received or where notification is given to a competent authority in accordance with such Regulation.

Any requests for authorisations or derogations relating to a financial sanction under the relevant Regulations should be directed to the Central Bank by emailing sanctions@centralbank.ie. Derogation applications should be accompanied by the Central Bank’s Sanctions Derogation Application Form. For further information on derogations, please visit the Central Bank’s dedicated Derogations webpage.

Authorisation/derogation requests relating to other types of sanctions (e.g. dual-use goods / travel restriction) under the relevant Regulations should be directed to the most appropriate competent authority (Department of Foreign Affairs, or the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment).

The derogations webpage provides:

All natural and legal persons must comply with EU Council Regulations relating to financial sanctions as soon as they are adopted.

The sanctions measures used in a specific situation will vary depending on the objectives of the restrictive measures and their likely effectiveness in achieving these objectives under the particular circumstances, reflecting the EU’s targeted and differentiated approach. They include, inter alia, freezing of funds and economic resources, restrictions on admission, arms embargoes, embargoes on equipment that might be used for internal repression, other export restrictions, import restrictions, and flight bans. A ban on the provision of financial services, including in connection with bans on the export of certain products, has also been used as well as investment bans. In this context, sectoral bans or measures to prevent the misuse of equipment, technology or software for monitoring and interception of the Internet or of other forms of communication have also been used. Once a person, entity or body has been listed under EU financial sanctions as a “designated person” and the measure relates to the freezing of funds and economic resources, there is a legal obligation not to transfer funds or make funds or economic resources available, directly or indirectly, to that designated person. The assets of the designated person must be frozen.

Many EU Regulations relating to financial sanctions contain derogation provisions. Such provisions provide that competent authorities of the Member States may authorise inter alia the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources, the making of funds or economic resources available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of a designated person, or the ability to provide goods or services to a designated person, subject to conditions, as set out in the legal acts. The Central Bank of Ireland considers derogation requests in respect of financial sanctions.

The Central Bank takes derogation requests, submitted in connection with EU financial sanctions, extremely seriously. In considering derogation applications, we take into account the relevant derogation grounds set out in the EU Regulations.

While the Central Bank seeks to ensure that all derogation requests are assessed in a timely manner it should be noted that derogation requests may take several weeks, and sometimes longer, to assess, depending on a number of factors, such as the quality of information and documentation submitted by the applicant, and potential engagement with relevant external stakeholders.

The Central Bank may authorise, under such conditions as deemed appropriate, the release of certain frozen funds or economic resources, if the Central Bank determines that the relevant conditions as set out in the relevant EU Financial Sanctions Regulation have been met.

How to make a derogation application relating to financial sanctions to the Central Bank

Derogation applications should be made to the Central Bank by using the below Derogation Application Form.

Completed application forms, together with relevant information and documentation, should be submitted by email to: sanctions@centrabank.ie

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Law Society supervision of compliance with sanctions

Sanctions have been a key tool in the fight against terrorism for many years and the Law Society has raised awareness among solicitors about sanctions across all of its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) outreach initiatives comprising guidance, resources and training. The Society’s AML webpage contains links for solicitors to access the websites of Ireland’s competent authorities for sanctions.

Sanctions compliance arises in the context of AML compliance. The 4 and 5 AML Directives (Annex III), transposed by Schedule 4 of the Criminal Justice Act lists sanctions as a high risk factor. Combined with geographic risk factor generally, this requires designated bodies to consider potential sanctions as part of the firm-wide and client/legal service risk assessments.

The Law Society monitors compliance with sanctions as part of its the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015, Solicitors Accounts Regulations and AML supervision activities. The Regulation Department expects solicitors to have due regard for the recently announced sanctions against Russia and Belarus. A solicitor should not facilitate any client or any third party to circumvent the sanctions. If it came to the attention of the Society, during the course of an inspection that a solicitor had acted in any way to facilitate a client or a third party to circumvent these sanctions the matter would be reported to the appropriate authorities. The solicitor would also face disciplinary action.

In the future, the Law Society’s Investigating Accountants, during inspections, will review the steps taken by firms with regard to sanctions compliance. By documenting the steps your firm takes under each of the 5 suggested key steps in the ‘Recommended approach’ section is the best way to demonstrate risk-appropriate compliance to your supervisor or An Garda Siochana should someone else make a report in relation to a client.

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Sanctions insights

Links to insights and debate on sanctions, responses across the world from the legal profession and more:

The latest updates from the Department of Finance’s AML Steering Committee

The AMLSC (Ireland’s Anti-Money Laundering Steering Committee) has asked the Society to bring the following measures to the attention of solicitors.

An excellent resource is the EU’s free consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions, updated on a regular basis, which can be found here. Comprehensive guidance is provided at Step 3 above If your firm may be exposed to Russia/Belarus, check sanctions listsidentify relevant law and ensure you comply if any hits are found. Document the steps taken.


Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed in light of the escalating war and illegal annexations in Ukraine. These measures include:

  • Extending the list of restricted items which might contribute to the Russian Federation’s military and technological enhancement or to the development of its defence and security sector, by including in that list certain chemical substances, nerve agents and goods which have no practical use other than for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or which could be used for those purposes.
  • Prohibiting the sale, supply, transfer or export of firearms, their parts and essential components and ammunition
  • Extending the import ban on steel products that either originate in the Russian Federation or have been exported from it
  • Applying an import ban on wood pulp and paper, certain elements used in the jewellery industry such as stones and precious metals, certain machinery and chemical items, cigarettes, plastics and finished chemical products such as cosmetics. This also includes items which could contribute to the enhancement of Russian industrial capacities and restrictions are imposed on the sale, supply, transfer or export of additional goods used in the aviation sector.
  • introducing an exemption from the prohibition to provide technical assistance, brokering services or financing or financial assistance, related to the maritime transport to third countries of crude oil or petroleum products which originate in or are exported from Russia, purchased at or below a pre-established price cap agreed by the Price Cap Coalition.
  • Expanding the prohibition to engage in any transaction with certain Russian State-owned or State-controlled legal persons, entities or bodies by including a ban on EU nationals to hold any posts on the governing bodies of those legal persons, entities or bodies.
  • Applying a transaction ban on the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping
  • Extending the port access and lock ban in the territory of the EU to vessels certified by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.
  • Removing the threshold for the existing prohibition on the provision of crypto-asset wallet, account or custody services to Russian persons and residents, thereby banning the provision of such services regardless of the total value of such crypto-assets.
  • Extending the existing prohibition on the provision of certain services to the Russian Federation by banning the provision of architectural and engineering services as well as of IT consultancy services and legal advisory services
  • Adding 30 persons and seven entities to the list of those subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

 

Please monitor the websites referenced above closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same.

 


On 21 July, the European Union published a new set of restrictive measures in relation to Russian actions in Ukraine. Measures Include:

  • The current packages of sanctions have been extended for an additional 6 months, until the end of January 2023;
  • The import of Russian origin gold is prohibited from 22nd July 2022 onwards;
  • An additional 51 items have been added to the export control list, mostly from the industrial and advanced technology sectors;
  • An additional 48 individuals and 9 entities are subject to an asset freeze, including Sberbank and Credit Bank of Moscow (which are already removed from Swift messaging system;
  • The acceptance of deposits of €100,000 from any Russia national/resident, or Russian/Russian resident controlled (50% or more) entity or body from anywhere outside the EU, is now prohibited.
  • Prior authorisation required for accepting deposits needed when trading non-prohibited items between the EU and Russia.
  • Clarification that Russian ships cannot dock at canal locks in order to circumvent the ban on entering EU ports;

 

In addition to this package, new restrictive measures have also been introduced against military forces that have been aiding (directly and indirectly) the military actions of Russia in Ukraine. These measures add 6 Syrian individuals and 1 Syrian entity to an asset freeze and travel ban list.

 

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions.

The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

-        The EU Council website, from which the measures agreed at an EU level in response to the crisis in Ukraine can be found – EU restrictive measures against Russia over Ukraine (since 2014).

-        The European Commission website, from which Frequency Asked Question documents are available – Sanctions adopted following Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

-        The Central Bank of Ireland.

-        D/Foreign Affairs – who also have domestic guidance on the implementation of sanctions at the bottom of that page.

 

Please monitor the websites referenced above closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same.

 


Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed in relation to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.

This 6th package of measures include:

  • A ban on the provision of insurance or reinsurance to the maritime transport of Russian oil to third countries;
  • A ban on providing accounting, auditing, bookkeeping and tax consulting services, business and management consulting and public relations services to Russia;
  • A wide variety of chemicals, including items used as precursors to the creation of chemical weapons, will be banned from sale to Russia;
  • The import of goods such as wood, rubber, cement, fertilizer and ingredients used to manufacture fertilizer from Russia and Belarus is banned; 
  • 65 additional Russian individuals and 18 entities have been made subject to asset freezes and travel bans; 
  • 12 Belarusian individuals and 8 entities have been made subject to asset freezes and travel bans;
  • Removal of banks from SWIFT:
    • 3 Russian banks: Sberbank, Credit Bank of Moscow and JSC Rosselkhozbank are removed from SWIFT;
    • 1 Belarusian bank: Belinvestbank, is removed from SWIFT; 
  • 3 additional Russian TV stations are subject to a broadcast ban - Rossiya RTR/RTR Planeta, Russia 24 and TV Centre International; 
  • RT and Sputnik will also be subject to an advertising ban; and 
  • The list of items banned from import from Russia has been extended, to include certain chemicals that can be used for the manufacture of chemical weapons. 

A general prohibition has been introduced on the import and transport of Russian crude oil and petrol products for all EU Member States. A lead-in period of six months has been provided for crude oil and eight months for petrol products, after which the import of such products will be prohibited. Some MS have received derogations from this measure due to their geographic location or their over-reliance on Russian fuel:

  • As landlocked countries, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia are disproportionately dependent on Russia for crude oil imported by pipeline, therefore these MS are exempted from the import ban until alternative supply lines are sourced;
  • If the supply of crude oil by pipeline from Russia to any of the three Member States mentioned above is interrupted, seaborne crude oil from Russia may be imported into that Member State through other Member States;
  • Bulgaria can continue to authorise contracts up until 31 December 2024 for seaborne crude oil and petroleum products; and
  • Croatia can continue to authorise contracts relating to the import of vacuum gas oil until 31 December 2023.

In relation to the measure regarding trusts and those providing services to them, that was adopted in the last package - following discussions with the EU Commission and discussions amongst Member States, agreement was reached to amend that measure. The position is now that certain types of trust, detailed below, can apply to the competent authorities for a derogation from the sanction. Trusts will have 30 days from today to make such an application. The three Irish competent authorities are the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment and the Central Bank of Ireland. Currently, we have no information about which (or if all three) competent authority will be providing the application facility for trusts; nor do we have information about what information a trust will have to provide in order to successfully secure a derogation. The trust types eligible for a derogation are:

  • occupational pension schemes; 
  • insurance policies; 
  • employee share schemes; 
  • charities; 
  • amateur sports clubs; 
  • funds for minors or vulnerable adults. 

In addition, trustees and TCSPs have been given an additional month - to 5 July 2022 - to cease all operations with trusts that remain within the remit of the sanction. 

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

Please monitor the websites referenced above closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same.


The European Commission have updated several of their sanctions FAQs recently. Please use the following links to access information on:


Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed in relation to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. These measures amend the most recent sanctions package to:

      • Provide for derogations for humanitarian purposes; and
      • Restrictive measures on two additional businesspeople - Serhiy Vitaliyovich KURCHENKO and Yevgeniy Viktorovich PRIGOZHIN. EU restrictive measures regarding the undermining of the territorial integrity of Ukraine now apply to a total of 1093 persons and 80 entities.now apply to a total of 1093 persons and 80 entities.

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

Please monitor the websites referenced above closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same


Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed in relation to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. These measures amend the most recent sanctions package to:

  • Provide for derogations for humanitarian purposes; and
  • Restrictive measures on two additional businesspeople - Serhiy Vitaliyovich KURCHENKO and Yevgeniy Viktorovich PRIGOZHIN. EU restrictive measures regarding the undermining of the territorial integrity of Ukraine now apply to a total of 1093 persons and 80 entities.

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

Please monitor the websites referenced above closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same.


Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed in relation to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. On 8 April 2022, the EU published a further set of measures in relation to Russia and Belarus. These measures are set out in full in the Regulations and include:

  • A prohibition on being a beneficiary, acting as a trustee or in similar capacities for Russian persons and entities, as well as a prohibition on providing certain services to trusts has been introduced.
  • An import ban on coal from Russia from 10 August 2022;
  • A full transaction ban on four key Russian banks. These four banks will now be fully excluded from the EU market. The banks affected are Otkritie, Novikombank, Sovkombank and VTB;
  • A ban on any vessel registered under the flag of Russian from accessing EU ports. This includes yachts and recreational craft. Some derogations are granted for the transport of medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid, energy and other products as set out in the Regulations;
  • A ban on Russian and Belarusian road transport operators traveling the European Union, Switzerland, EEA and western Balkans, limiting their access to key goods;
  • Further targeted export bans on items such as quantum computers and advanced semiconductors, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment;
  • Specific new import bans on a range of goods as well closing loopholes between Russia and Belarus. This will be achieved by sanctioning certain individuals and entities used to bypass previous sanctions;
  • A €10,000 limit on crypto asset transactions;
  • Securities in all EU Member State currencies will now be banned from sale to Russia/Belarus and Russian/Belarusian entities;
  • A general EU ban on participation of Russian companies accessing public procurement in Member States;
  • An exclusion of all financial support at a national and European Union level to Russian public bodies; and
  • Listing of an additional 216 individuals who are Russian, members of 'the People’s Council' of the Donetsk and Luhansk breakaway republics as well as 18 new entities. The list also includes Oleg Deripaska and the 2 daughters of Vladimir Putin.

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book.

Please monitor the websites referenced above closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same.


On 15 March 2022, the EU published a further set of measures in relation to Russia.

The measures that came into force on 15 March include:

  • adding another 15 individuals and 9 entities to the list of those subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

The measures that come into force on 16 March include:

  • a ban on credit ratings agencies from providing ratings on Russian Federation debt.
  • further trade restrictions concerning iron and steel, as well as luxury goods;
  • expanding the list of persons connected to Russia’s defense and industrial base, to apply tighter export restrictions on dual-use goods and technology. A total of 81 persons and entities have been added;
  • prohibitions on new investments in the Russian energy sector and export restrictions on related equipment, technology and services, with the exception of nuclear industry and energy transport;
  • a ban on all transactions with certain State-owned enterprises which are already subject to refinancing restrictions. A total of 13 companies are listed;
  • a ban on the provision of insurance and reinsurance to any legal person, entity or body operating in the energy sector in Russia;
  • Derogations have been provided for activities necessary for ensuring critical energy supply within the EU, as well as the transport of fossil fuels, in particular coal, oil and natural gas, from or through Russia into the EU; and where humanitarian considerations arise.

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

 


The most recent measures imposed on the Russian Federation and Belarus in response to the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.

On 9 March 2022, the EU published a further set of measures. These include:

  • Introduction of further restrictions on the export of maritime navigation goods and technology;
  • Expansion of the list of legal persons, entities and bodies subject to the prohibitions related to investment services, transferable securities, money market instruments, and loans;
  • Further clarification (in respect of previous restrictive measures) that “transferable securities” includes crypto-assets.
  • Limiting the financial inflows from Belarus to the Union, by prohibiting the acceptance, from Belarusian nationals or residents, of deposits exceeding certain values; the holding of accounts of Belarusian clients by the Union central securities depositories; and the selling of euro-denominated securities to Belarusian clients;
  • Exemptions under the sanctions measures, for Swiss, EU and EEA nationals in Belarus, in that deposits exceeding €100,000 can be accepted from them.
  • Introduction of clarifications on the exception for the provision of financing for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as certain provisions in the Annexes, relating to prohibited goods and technology;
  • Adding 146 members of the Russian Federation Council to the sanctions list, as those individuals ratified the government decisions of the ‘Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance’ between Russia and the two break-away regions in Donetsk and Luhansk;
  • Adding 14 persons to the sanctions list, as they supported and benefited from the Government of the Russian Federation and/or provided substantial revenue to it; or are associated with listed persons or entities.
  • Prohibition on the listing and provision of services, on Union trading venues, in relation to shares of Belarus State-owned entities;
  • Prohibition on transactions with the Central Bank of Belarus;
  • Restrictions on the provision of specialised financial messaging services (SWIFT) to certain Belarusian credit institutions and their Belarusian subsidiaries. These are:
    • - Belagroprombank
    • - Bank Dabrabyt
    • - Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus'
  • Additional obligations on the Network Manager for air traffic management network functions of the single European Sky, particularly that the Manager rejects all flight plans that violate the Regulations;
  • Further clarification (in respect of previous restrictive measures) that “transferable securities” includes crypto-assets.

The Department of Finance ask that all entities familiarise themselves with the measures introduced and how they can comply with the sanctions. The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

Please monitor the websites referenced below closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same.

Guidance note on Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 and opportunity to consult on upcoming sanctions guidance

We received a communication from DG FISMA, the Directorate General in the Commission responsible for sanctions. They acknowledged that the swiftly adopted measures pose a significant challenge for economic operators who have to respect these sanctions at very short notice.

In order to facilitate compliance, DG FISMA has confirmed that it will provide guidance on the new sanctions as soon as possible. In the interim, they recommend consulting the Commission Guidance Note on the implementation of certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, in case queries may be answered there.


The European Union sanctions whistleblower tool was rolled out last Friday 4 March 2022, and is accessible via the Commission’s website at https://eusanctions.integrityline.com/. It facilitates the anonymous reporting of possible violations of EU sanctions. It can be used to report past, ongoing or planned sanctions violations, as well as attempts to circumvent EU sanctions.

More details about the tool are available on the European Commission website.


Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed on Belarus in response to its unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine:

  • An EU travel ban and asset freeze in respect of 22 persons associated with the Belarusian military and Ministry for Defence. These measures are imposed under the existing sanctions regime in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

Please find below details of the most recent measures imposed on the Russian Federation in response to its unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine:

  • Existing sanctions measures against 7 persons have been extended
  • 1 person has been removed from the list

Please monitor the websites referenced below closely in the event that further information is available or further restrictive measures are adopted. It is very important that all supervisors in particular keep up to date on developments and ensure that the obligations arising from the sanctions are communicated appropriately to all obliged entities. All legal and natural persons are bound by the obligations in the sanctions and supervisors need to ensure compliance with same. 

The relevant Statutory Instruments in relation to Sanctions against the Russian Federation, and Belarus for its role in the aggression are, or will shortly be, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:


Please find below details of additional measures imposed on the Russian Federation in response to its unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine:

  • A ban on the sale, supply, transfer or export of Euro banknotes to Russia or to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia is being introduced. This includes the Russian government and the Central Bank of Russia.
  • The removal of 7 Russian banks from the SWIFT system with a 10 day lead in time. This includes any entity that the listed banks own 50% or more of. The banks affected are:
  • Bank Otkritie
  • Novikombank
  • Promsvyazbank
  • Bank Rossiya
  • Sovcombank
  • VNESHECONOMBANK (VEB)
  • VTB BANK
  • A prohibition on investing in, participating or otherwise contributing to projects co-financed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
  • A prohibition on broadcasting or enabling the broadcast of state-owned media Russia Today or Sputnik in the EU.

The relevant Statutory Instruments are, or will be shortly, available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:


Statutory Instruments No 81/2022 and 82/2022 and are available on the Irish Statute Book. Further information on restrictive measures can be viewed also at:

A third sanctions package is imminent. As part of this proposed third package, the Commission is asking for:

  • The removal of some, as of yet unnamed, banks from the Swift system
  • The freezing of the assets of the Russian Central Bank

Status of Sanctions Resources for Solicitors

While care has been taken to ensure that sanctions resources are accurate, up to date and useful, the Law Society will not accept any legal liability in relation to them. The sanctions resources do not constitute legal advice. This is a ‘living' resource which will be updated as needed to draw upon evolving guidance, resources for other designated bodies in Ireland as well as best practice for lawyers in other jurisdictions. The Society's 5-step recommended approach for sole practitioners and small/medium firms is the intellectual property of the Society and subject to copyright. Content last updated 5 August 2022 (with the exception of the addition of Department of Finance Updates which are updated as they are published).