1. Does Egypt have a sanctions regime in place?
Yes. Egyptian legislation allows for the imposition of certain economic sanctions on organizations as a result of their involvement in criminal activities such as terrorism and money laundering. Egypt is also a member of the UN and other international organizations such as the African Union and the League of Arab States, among others, which have their own sanctions regimes.
2. Does Egypt implement UN sanctions?
Yes. In addition, in 2002, Egypt promulgated Law No. 80 of 2002 on Money Laundering (the “Anti-Money Laundering Law”), which created a unit within the Central Bank of Egypt (the “CBE Unit”) whose purpose, among other things, is to cooperate with committees established pursuant to UNSC resolutions (e.g., sanctions committees) and other international agencies and organizations for the purpose of combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.
3. Does Egypt implement an autonomous sanctions regime?
Yes. Egypt implements an autonomous terrorist sanctions regime, which is articulated in Decree Law No. 8 of 2015 on the Regulation of Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists Lists (the Law on Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists Lists). Individuals can be placed on this list for a renewable five (5) year period following the recommendation of the Attorney General and the approval of the Felonies Court and/or when a person is found guilty of committing a “terrorism-offense” under the new Anti-Terrorism Law No. 94 of 2015 (the “Anti-Terrorism Law”). The CBE Unit also collects information from various sources about suspicious transactions that may be perceived to generate proceeds of crime, or qualify as money laundering or terrorist financing or reflect attempts to engage in any of the foregoing. Information received by the CBE Unit is stored in a database. The CBE Unit then conducts its investigations and when it suspects that the offense of money laundering has been committed, it refers the case to the General Prosecution, which handles the matter as it deems appropriate. Since June 2017, Egypt has taken certain collective restrictive countermeasures in conjunction with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain against the state of Qatar and its government, chief among which is the cutting of air and maritime links between Egypt and Qatar.
On 5 January 2021 at the Gulf Co-operation Summit, Egypt formally agreed to end the embargo and aforementioned restrictions that have been imposed on Qatar since June 2017. Following this agreement, Egypt will re-open its air and sea links with Qatar.
4. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Egypt?
In addition to the autonomous sanctions regime discussed above, Egypt is a founding member of the UN and is bound by resolutions issued by the UN under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (Art. 41), imposing sanctions on states, entities and individuals. The UN Charter was incorporated into Egyptian law by virtue of Law No. 120 of 1945 of October 14, 1945. Article 1(3) of Law 453 of 1955 on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the “MFA”) states that the MFA shall supervise the implementation of international agreements, which include the UN Charter and sanctions issued under the Charter, in conjunction with other ministries and government entities, which as explained, include the CBE Unit in charge of implementing sanctions relating to money laundering and terrorist financing. With respect to sanctions issued under domestic law, the Law on Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists Lists imposes the following sanctions on those that are placed on the list of Terrorist Organisations:
- banning the organization and suspending its activities
- shutting down all its premises and banning the meetings of its members
- prohibiting the financing of, collection of funds or any other matter for, the organization
- freezing the assets of the organization, or its members when they are used for the purpose of engaging in a terrorist activity
- forbidding the joining of the organization or invitations or promotions to join the organization or the use of its signs or emblems
Sanctions imposed on those placed on the Terrorists List are as follows:
- travel bans
- freezing or cancellation of passports or non-issuance of new passports
- prevention of work in the public sector
- freezing of assets used in the commission of the terrorist activity
- forbidding the engagement in civil society or proselytizing activities
The above is without prejudice to any custodial or other criminal sentence that may be imposed on a person found guilty of being a “terrorist” or a “member of a terrorist organization”, which under the Penal Code (Law No. 58 of 1937) and the Anti-Terrorism Law includes imprisonment for life (and may amount to the death penalty), in addition to monetary penalties.
5. Does Egypt maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?
Yes. However, the list varies depending on the type and source of the sanctions. The list containing sanctioned individuals and entities under the Law on Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists Lists is created by the General Prosecution, reviewed and confirmed by the Felonies Court, and officially issued pursuant to a decree that is published in the Official Gazette. Sanctions pertaining to the UN and other organizations are supervised and implemented by the MFA in line with Article 1(3) of Law 453 of 1955 on the MFA. A list of the individuals and entities subject to sanctions is placed with the MFA, which then channels it to the appropriate government body (e.g., lists of sanctions related to asset freezes are forwarded to the CBE; those concerning travel bans are forwarded to the Interior Ministry, etc). In addition, the CBE Unit, which cooperates with UN sanctions committees and other international organizations, agencies, and judicial bodies in foreign states, stores information about suspected transactions relating to money laundering and terrorist financing in a database, which it shares with interested parties (e.g., investigative authorities, foreign governments for the purpose of crime prevention and cooperation).
6. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?
In addition to the above, and in compliance with the Security Council’s recommendations, the Financial Regulatory Authority issued Decree No. 23 of 2020 regarding the list of individuals and entities that are subject to targeted financial sanctions. Such list is to be updated daily.
Pursuant to Decree No. 23 of 2020, Egyptian financial institutions are under the obligation to abide by the CBE Unit’s recommendation regarding individuals and entities placed on the list. The CBE Unit itself conforms with the Security Council’s recommendations with regard to Targeted Financial Sanctions for money laundering, terrorist financing, and weapons of mass destruction proliferation.
7. Does Egypt have a licensing or authorization system in place?
There is no institutionalised system regulating the issuance of licenses and authorizations exempting particular activities, transactions or types of transactions from UN or other international sanctions regimes. A person that wishes to challenge his or her placement on a list of UN sanctions (or sanctions by other organizations) can communicate with the MFA, which will forward his or her complaint to the appropriate body/committee within the UN or international organization. The Law on Terrorist Organisations and Terrorists Lists allows people placed on the list of individuals subject to sanctions under that law to challenge their listing within sixty days of the publication of the decree adding their names to the list before the Court of Cassation’s Criminal Division. Failure to challenge the listing will lead to a person’s name being placed on the list for a period of three years, subject to renewal. Despite the foregoing, the Attorney General may nevertheless request that a person’s name be removed from the list. Furthermore, the Code of Criminal Procedures, anti-terrorism legislation, and the Anti-Money Laundering Law allow the Attorney General to issue an order preventing those accused of committing certain financial crimes (including money laundering and terrorist financing) from disposing of, or dealing with, their assets until the issuance of a final judgment in their case. Such a decision can be challenged before a court of competent jurisdiction. Finally, the Minister of Interior’s Decree No. 2214 of 1994 regulates the placing of individuals on the “travel ban” list for a period of three years, which may be renewed. Challenges to placements on the “travel ban” list may be submitted to the Passports, Immigration and Citizenship Unit. The foregoing is independent of the five year travel bans imposed on those placed on the terrorists list discussed in question 5 above.
8. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Egypt?
There is no institutionalized system regulating breaches of UN sanctions or sanctions by other international organizations. At best, certain criminal or administrative penalties may be imposed for non-compliance with orders or regulations issued by competent governmental authorities (eg, CBE, General Prosecution, etc.) in charge of implementing sanctions. The consequences of breaching Egypt’s Anti-Money Laundering Law vary between fines amounting to EGP 100,000 for natural persons and up to EGP 5,000,000 for juridical persons, in addition to imprisonment for up to seven years, seizure of proceeds of crime, and the suspension of licenses. The Anti-Money Laundering Law also pierces the corporate veil by subjecting those who exercise real and effective control over a juridical person to personal responsibility and to penalties that may include fines and/or imprisonment. As explained above, the penalties for committing terrorist acts and terrorist financing can amount to life imprisonment and the death penalty in certain circumstances.
9. Who are the relevant regulators in Egypt and what are their contact details?
Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maspero Corniche El Nil Cairo, Egypt T: (+202) 2579 6334, (+202) 2574 6872, (+202) 2574 6871, (+202) 2579 6338, (+202) 2579 6342, (+202) 2574 8620 F: (+202) 2576 7967, (+202) 25761000 E: Contact.Us@mfa.gov.eg
The General Prosecution Office of the Attorney General Court of Cassation 26 July Street, Isaaf Square Cairo, Egypt T: (+202) 2576 0468, (+202) 2574 3751 F: (+202) 2597 6081 E: email@example.com
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