Among those added to the SSIL on July 30 are the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and other entities identified by OFAC as being owned 50% or more by Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB). VEB itself was added to the SSIL on July 16, 2014, the same day on which OFAC first issued Directive 1, the relevant financial services sanctions implementing measure discussed in detail below (as applicable to the VEB-owned entitles and generally). The July 30 action is significant more for its likely practical impact, rather than its immediate legal meaning. This is so because the relevant VEB-owned entities, while not previously listed on the SSIL, have nevertheless been subject to Sectoral Sanctions since July 16, 2014.[iii] The VEB’s sanctioned status as of July 16, 2014 was imputed to its owned entities on the same day by operation of OFAC’s “50% Rule,” which attaches to entities owned 50% or more by one or more SSIL entities (individually or in the aggregate) the sanctions status of their owner(s), even if such owned entities are not separately listed on the SSIL. The 50% Rule significantly expands the potential scope of Sectoral Sanctions and corresponding compliance obligations. Effectively, the 50% Rule requires parties to determine, at every link in the ownership chain (vertically and horizontally), whether one or more SSIL entities (alone or in the aggregate) directly or indirectly owns 50% or more of a relevant entity. This can be particularly burdensome where corporate structures are complex and/or opaque.
Enforcement authorities in the US and Asia reportedly are investigating financial institutions for potentially corrupt employment and business relationships with family members of government officials. The investigations underscore policy links between anti-corruption and anti-money laundering regimes where dealings with Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) are involved. This article, published by Hdeel Abdelhady in Butterworths Journal of Banking and Financial Law, briefly discusses the pending investigations and the anti-corruption-AML policy nexus, and suggests, with respect to PEPs and more generally, that financial institutions facilitate fluidity in their compliance programs to allow for the sharing of information and adaptation of compliance protocols across (sometimes impermeable) internal functional and disciplinary lines.
Hdeel Abdelhady was a guest on WVON Radio Chicago's African Diaspora Today. She and fellow guest Dr. John Mbaku of the Brookings Institution took part in an engaging discussion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Egyptian and Ethiopian positions, and related issues.
Ultimately, the success of Egypt's political transition will be measured not at the ballot box, but at the breadlines. Egypt needs a national economic vision to transform its political aspirations into reality. But first the country must undergo a national mindset revolution. Egyptians must ask themselves and their leaders the clichéd question: where do they see themselves in the next five, 15, or 50 years? Will Egypt remain a foreign aid recipient whose fortunes twist in unpredictable political winds? Will its economic path continue to be paved with off-the-rack structural adjustments thought up in the halls of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund? Will Egyptians continue to accept -- and expect -- economic mediocrity? The answers, and Egypt's future, will depend on the health of the national mindset.