By: Brooke Driver
On December 2, 2014, U.S. Senator Bob Corker introduced Senate Floor Amendment No. 3966 to S. 2828 Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014. If imposed, the amendment would significantly expand the scope of U.S. sanctions against Russia; the current sanctions only affect U.S. entities or shipments consisting of a certain amount of U.S. content, but the proposed amendment would alter them to impose severe sanctions on foreign persons if the President of the United States “determines that the foreign person knowingly makes a significant investment in a special Russian crude oil project.” The only comparable U.S. sanctions currently are those imposed against non-U.S. banks and companies participating in transactions with Iran.
The proposed amendment does not specify what “significant” or “investment” mean, and, if passed, would grant the President a great deal of control in determining the meaning of these terms and in doling out corresponding punishments, which could include:
- Revocation of Export-Import Bank Assistance: The President could demand that the Export-Import Bank of the United States not approve any transaction with the foreign person.
- Procurement Sanction: The President may prohibit the head of any executive agency from doing business with the foreign person.
- Arms Export Prohibition: The President may prohibit the issuance of any export license or suspend any license for the foreign person.
- Property Transactions: The President may prohibit the foreign person from
- acquiring, holding, withholding, using, transferring, withdrawing, transporting, or exporting any property that is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and with respect to which the foreign person has any interest;
- dealing in or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to such property; or
- conducting any transaction involving such property.
- Banking Transactions: The President may prohibit any transfers of credit or payments between financial institutions or by, through, or to any financial institution, to the extent that such transfers or payments are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and involve any interest of the foreign person.
- Prohibition on Investment in Equity or Debt of a Sanctioned Person: The President may prohibit any U.S. person from transacting in, providing financing for or otherwise dealing in debt:
- of longer than 30 days’ maturity of a foreign person, with respect to which sanctions are imposed under subsection (a) or of longer than 90 days’ maturity of a foreign person, with respect to which sanctions are imposed under subsection (b); and
- issued on or after the date on which such sanctions are imposed with respect to the foreign person.
- equity of the foreign person issued on or after that date.
- Exclusion from the United States and Revocation of Visa or Other Documentation: In the case of a foreign person who is an individual, the President may direct the Secretary of State to deny a visa to, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to exclude from the United States, the foreign person, subject to regulatory exceptions to permit the United States to comply with the agreement regarding the headquarters of the United Nations, signed at Lake Success on June 26, 1947 and entered into force on November 21, 1947, between the United Nations and the United States, or other applicable international obligations.
- Sanctions on Principal Executive Officers: In the case of a foreign person that is an entity, the President may impose on the principal executive officer or officers of the foreign person, or on individuals performing similar functions and with similar authorities as such officer or officers, any of the sanctions described in this subsection applicable to individuals.
Currently, there is no scheduled vote for the amendment, but if the House and Senate do not vote on the proposed legislation before the lame duck session of Congress ends, it will likely be reintroduced for a vote in the new Republican-weighted Congress in January 2015.