ACR Brief: Sanctions Are the New Black
May 04, 2022

Sanctions Are the New Black 
At the New York City Bar’s White Collar Crime Institute last week, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco sat down for a fireside chat – a rare opportunity to hear her extemporaneous thoughts on white collar enforcement. We’ll be covering the details of her remarks in an article next week, but one comment in particular stuck out to me: Sanctions are the new FCPA, she said.

Economic sanctions, which have significant overlap with anti-corruption measures, have long been a key tool of diplomacy and have become increasingly important in recent years. For example, the Global Magnitsky Act, signed into law in 2016, authorizes the president to impose financial sanctions and visa restrictions on foreign persons in response to certain human rights violations or acts of corruption. In 2017, President Trump used that power to sanction 13 individuals, including Dan Gertler and Gulnara Karimova.

Sanctions were also used as part of an “all-tools approach” to China policy. One such tool is the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, signed into law by President Biden, which requires the president to impose sanctions on foreign persons determined to be responsible for specified human rights abuses with respect to Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, members of other Muslim minority groups in the region. And, of course, sanctions figured heavily in the United States Strategy on Countering Corruption announced by the Biden White House in December 2021.

But even with this upward trend in sanctions, the changes resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February have been head spinning. With multiple individuals and entities added to lists in successive waves and many other nations joining the fray, many companies are left dizzy, trying to navigate this aggressive sanctions environment, mitigate sanctions risk up and down their supply chains and stay ahead of the U.S. Anti-Corruption Strategy with whatever tools are close to hand.

So, perhaps sanctions are indeed the new black this season, top of mind for many companies. The question remains, however, whether this trend is here to stay and what that might mean for companies. Drop us a line and let us know how your company and clients are coping with this season’s hottest – and most troubling – trend.


Megan Zwiebel
Senior Editor
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