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Commerce Department Targets Plane Recently Flown in Russia in Violation of U.S. Export Controls

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United States: Commerce Department Targets Planes Recently Flown in Russia in Violation of U.S. Export Controls

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On March 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) identified 100 aircraft recently exported to Russia in violation of recent export control restrictions issued by the United States against Russia . While the exports are themselves violations, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) also prohibit anyone, anywhere, from providing any form of service to these identified aircraft, absent specific authorization from BIS.

Beginning Feb. 24, 2022, new, expanded licensing requirements were imposed on a wide range of U.S.-origin and foreign-produced items, including specific aircraft and aircraft parts, if they were destined for Russia. Similar controls were imposed on March 2, 2022 for items destined for Belarus. Under these rules, a license is required to export to Russia, re-export to Russia, or transfer to Russia any aircraft manufactured in the United States or manufactured in a foreign country if it contains more than 25% of American origin, controlled content.

BIS has identified 100 commercial and private aircraft – all of which are owned or controlled by, or chartered or leased to, Russia or Russian nationals – that flew from a third country to Russia. However, it is not just the export of the aircraft that violates US export controls. Any other action taken with respect to the 100 aircraft is also subject to the EAR, in particular the prohibitions of General Prohibition Ten (GP 10).

Aircraft listed include:

  • A plane belonging to a Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich

  • 33 aircraft operated by Aeroflotlargest airline in Russia

  • 12 aircraft operated by AirBridge Cargolargest Russian cargo airline

  • 5 aircraft operated by Aviastar-TUa cargo charter airline operating from Russia

  • 23 aircraft operated by Azur Aira Russian charter airline

  • 14 aircraft operated by North winda Russian leisure airline

  • 12 aircraft operated by Utaira Russian airline

GP 10 prohibits proceeding with a transaction knowing that a violation of the EAR has occurred or is about to occur. Accordingly, no person anywhere shall sell, transfer, export, re-export, finance, order, purchase, remove, conceal, store, use, loan, dispose, transport, re-ship or otherwise maintain, in whole or in part, the identified aircraft. In practical terms, this means that almost any activity associated with the aircraft identified above may violate US law.

In a statement, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said: “We are releasing this list to warn the world – we will not allow Russian and Belarusian companies and oligarchs to travel with impunity in violation of our laws. The BIS also cautioned that its list of aircraft is not exhaustive and that the application of GP 10 is not limited to aircraft.

This latest action signals the United States’ intention to apply the latest export control sanctions and restrictions, which extend to many US-origin and foreign-produced items. We are aware of several instances where BIS has contacted individual companies to remind them of their obligations under US export control laws. Individuals and businesses should be aware that the GP 10 restrictions will apply not only to listed aircraft, but also to any situation in which a person knows there is or will be a violation in connection with any item subject to EAR.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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