Austria

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1. Does Austria have a sanctions regime in place?

Yes.

2. Does Austria implement UN sanctions?

Yes, Austria does implement UN sanctions into domestic law. As an EU member state, all EU sanctions that are usually issued by way of an EU regulation are directly applicable.

3. Does Austria implement an autonomous sanctions regime?

Yes, the regime mainly consists of the implementation of sanctions enacted by international organizations that Austria is a member of, for example the OSCE or the UN. This is primarily covered by the Sanctions Act 2010 (“Sanktionengesetz 2010”, SanktG), together with the Foreign Trade Act (“Außenwirtschaftsgesetz”, AußWG) as well. The Sanctions Act 2010 regulates the implementation of internationally binding sanctions of the UN or the EU including directly applicable sanctions of the EU.

4. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Austria?

There are both financial and trade sanctions in place. To the extent necessary to implement internationally binding sanctions of the UN or the EU, the Austrian National Bank is authorized to order by regulation or decision the measures listed: The freezing of the assets of:

  • persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts, and of other persons or entities that are subject to sanctions of the UN or the EU,
  • entities owned or controlled directly or indirectly by the persons or entities listed above; and/or
  • persons and entities acting on behalf of, or at the direction of persons listed above and or the entities listed above, including funds derived or generated from property owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such persons and associated persons and entities.

The prohibition of making assets directly or indirectly available for the benefit of the persons and entities listed above. The enactment and repeal of the regulations referred to above requires the approval of the Federal Government; in case of imminent danger the approval of the Federal Chancellor is sufficient. To the extent necessary to implement internationally binding sanctions of the UN or the EU , the Federal Government is authorized to order by regulation or decision the measures listed:

  • the seizure of means of transport, which are in the majority owned by a person or a company having its seat or activity in a particular state or which are controlled by such persons or companies,
  • the forfeit of means of transport referred to above that were verifiably used for a violation of existing entry, exit or transit rules,
  • the seizure of means of transport and goods carried by them, if there is a suspicion that they were used for a violation of existing entry, exit or transit rules or transported contrary to such rules respectively,
  • the forfeit of means of transport and goods referred to above, if they were verifiably used for a violation of existing entry, exit or transit rules or transported contrary to such rules respectively,
  • the prohibition of providing services to natural or legal persons for the purpose of exercising commercial activities in a particular state; and/or
  • the exemption from the obligation to comply with civil claims relating to contracts or other legal transactions affected by sanctions of the UN or the EU.

The enactment of regulations, as referred to above, by the Federal Government requires the consent of the main committee of the National Council (the upper chamber of the Austrian Parliament).

As far as travel restrictions against persons were adopted in internationally binding sanctions by the UN or the EU, the Federal Minister of the Interior may prohibit such persons entry into and transit through the Republic of Austria.

5. Does Austria maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?

There is no complete list available at the moment as there are international sanctions in place that are implemented by Austrian legal provisions and EU regulations that are directly applicable, each of them containing their own lists.

6. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?

No.

7. Does Austria have a licensing or authorization system in place?

Certain goods and materials require specific authorizations for export outside the EU, which will not be given if the recipient individual, organization or country is subject to any applicable sanctions. These goods are weapons, munitions, certain chemicals, dualuse goods and similar items in general, however, it is possible for the Austrian ministry for economic affairs to submit other goods to the export control regime.

Austria has a new law on Foreign Direct Investments, i.e. the Investment Control Act (“Investitionskontrollgesetz”, InvKG), which has been enacted in connection with the EU Foreign Direct Investment Screening Regulation. Sanctions may be a reason why required authorisations for foreign investments are not granted.

8. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Austria?

The Sanctions Act differs between Judicial Penalties and Administrative Penalties. Penalties for breaching sanctions can amount to a fine of up to EUR 100,000 or imprisonment of up to two years, depending on the actual breach. Further, companies may be liable according to the Association Responsibility Act (“Verbandsverantwortlichkeitsgesetz”).

Penalties here can amount to up to EUR 700,000. Please note the Sanctions Act and the Association Responsibility Act require at least conditional intent for liability for Judicial Penalties (at least negligence for Administrative Penalties).

Anyone who imports, exports or transits goods which require an authorization, without authorization, commits a further financial offence according to the Foreign Trade Act (“Außenwirtschaftsgesetz”, AußWG). Financial offences are punishable by a fine of up to EUR 20,000. Negligence shall also be punishable in this case.

Several possible criminal acts in connection to sanctions may be punished with imprisonment of up to five years, but these require further acts like forging documentation associated to export applications.

9. Who are the relevant regulators in Austria and what are their contact details?

The Austrian Ministry for Interior Affairs is the competent authority regarding the application of sanctions themselves, except for financial sanctions that are regulated by the Austrian National Bank (“Österreichische Nationalbank”, ONB).

The regulations on the export of goods and on foreign investments are administrated by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs.

Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior

Herrengasse 7, 1010 Vienna

T: (+43) 1 531 26 0 W: www.bmi.gv.at/

Austrian National Bank (“Österreichische Nationalbank”)

OeNB Head Office, Otto-Wagner-Platz 3, 1090 Vienna, (PO Box 61, 1011 Vienna)

T: (+43) 1 404 20 0, (+43) 1 401 6035611 F: (+43) 1 404 20 042399 W: www.oenb.at/en

Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

Stubenring 1, 1011 Vienna

T: (+43) 1 711 00 0

W: https://www.bmdw.gv.at/

Contributor law firm

Aurelius Freytag, Eversheds Sutherland / Stolitzka & Partner Rechtsanwälte OG Kärntner Ring 12, Vienna, 1010, Austria

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