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Alerts and Updates

President Obama Signs Executive Order to Block Property of Those Engaging in Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities

April 2, 2015

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The Executive Order contains traditional blocking language, including the prohibition relating to donations and other assistance to "blocked persons."

In response to the "increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities" originating from outside the United States (in whole or in part), President Obama, determining that such activity constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the United States, signed an Executive Order on April 1, 2015, blocking the property of designated or to-be-designated individuals engaging in such unlawful conduct.

The Executive Order (E.O.) contains traditional blocking language, including the prohibition relating to donations and other assistance to "blocked persons." Section 4 of the E.O. contains a finding that “unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria as outlined in section 1(a) of the E.O. would be detrimental to the interests of the United States." Entry into the United States of such persons is suspended. The E.O. does not identify any persons or entities that fall within its scope. It is anticipated that Treasury will make such designations in the near term. Once done, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in trade or other transactions with persons named pursuant to the E.O. It is also anticipated that specific regulations will be promulgated to address the scope of the E.O.

According to the FAQ published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. persons, including firms that facilitate or engage in online commerce, are responsible for ensuring that they do not engage in unauthorized transactions or dealings with persons named by OFAC's sanctions lists or operate in jurisdictions targeted by comprehensive sanctions programs. Such persons, including technology companies, are instructed to develop a tailored, risk-based compliance program that may include sanctions lists screening or other procedures to ensure compliance. OFAC advises that it recognizes that there is no single compliance program or solution that is suitable for every circumstance. It is important to note that in addition to OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals List, other lists are available, such as the Consolidated Proscribed Party List, Sectoral Sanctions List, Foreign Sanctions Evaders List, Consolidated Ukraine List, Foreign Financial Institutions List and many others. Please refer to the OFAC website for a full discussion of the FAQ guidance.

For Further Information

If you would like further information about this Alert, please contact Brian S. Goldstein, Sandra A. Jeskie, any member of the International Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.