Sanctions against Libya

8 March 2011

In response to the current unrest in Libya, the United Nations has implemented United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR 1970 (2011)). This introduced financial sanctions against persons listed in Annex II to the Resolution (all being members of the Qadhafi family), or against persons designated by the competent United Nations Sanctions Committee as involved in or complicit in ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses in Libya. The UN Resolution also, amongst other things, placed an embargo on the import/export, supply and/or sale of military equipment (or similar) to or from Libya. For a full copy of the UN Resolution, click here.

 The EU subsequently implemented UNSCR 1970 (2011) by introducing Regulation 204/2011 on 2 March 2011. For a full text of the EU Regulation, click here. Members should note that the EU Regulation introduced a list of designated persons to whom the sanctions should apply (as set out in Annex III of the EU Regulation) that are in addition to the persons/entities listed in Annex II of the UN Resolution (who are listed separately in Annex II of the EU Regulation).

 The UK Government has produced helpful guidance for both the UN Resolution and the EU Regulation in UK Treasury Financial Sanctions Notices (click here for the UN Resolution Notice and click here for the EU Regulation Notice). In the Notices, the UK Treasury warns, amongst other guidance, that the effect of the asset freeze is not limited to assets held in the name of a designated person. It also extends to any funds, other financial assets or economic resources owned or controlled by them. The UK Treasury therefore advises that it should be borne in mind that Muammar Qadhafi and his family have considerable control over the Libyan state and its enterprises in deciding how to conduct proper due diligence over any transactions involving Libyan state assets. The UK Government has also introduced statutory legislation that makes the breach of UN sanctions (click here for a full text of the Libya (Financial Sanctions) Order 2011) or EU Sanctions (click here for a full text of the Libya (Asset Freezing) Regulations 2011) a criminal offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment for UK nationals where, amongst other things, funds or economic resources have been supplied to a designated person.

 Members should also note that the US has also imposed sanctions upon Libya via a Presidential Executive Order (click here for the full text), which applies to all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch.

 In light of the sanctions imposed, Members trading with Libya are recommended to make themselves familiar with the various sanctions regimes imposed in order to avoid being in breach.