On September 7, 2023, the European Union (EU) Commission published a “Guidance” document addressed to European operators to help them identify, assess, and understand the possible risks of sanctions circumvention. The Guidance for EU Operators: Implementing Enhanced Due Diligence to Shield Against Russia Sanctions Circumvention aims at providing a general overview of what EU operators need to do when conducting due diligence, as required by EU law.
Under that law, EU operators have an obligation to carry out appropriate due diligence to “prevent or mitigate circumvention” in a manner “commensurate with the risks identified.” A “risk assessment and risk management approach to circumvention” is the order of the day. The Guidance document outlines basic steps to be applied by EU operators “in view of their due-diligence work and is intended to support . . . compliance efforts.”
The effective and diligent implementation of sanctions is key to preventing sanctions circumvention. The European Union has imposed severe restrictive measures in response to the armed conflict involving Russia. The Guidance notes that, “[d]epending on new circumvention patterns, the list of recommended due diligence measures will be updated accordingly.”
The Guidance can be found here: https://finance.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2023-09/230905-guidance-eu-operators-russia-sanctions-circumvention_en.pdf