The U.S. sanctions Russian trolls and threatens future measures against Russian officials and oligarchs

Yesterday, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) blacklisted 14 new Russian individuals and the Internet Research Agency as Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) for their role interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. While limited in scope, the new designations are the first use of authority under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to sanction Russian parties.

In a press release accompanying the new sanctions, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin indicated that Treasury intends to issue additional sanctions targeting Russian government officials and Russian oligarchs to hold them accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system.” The press release cites a number of destabilizing” acts, including cyber-attacks against the U.S. government and critical U.S. infrastructure, election interference, interference in Ukraine, the occupation of Crimea, corruption, and human rights abuses. It remains unclear how extensively the administration will implement new sanctions on Russia, but companies with exposure to the Russian market will need to continue to carefully monitor developments in this area.