Frequently Asked Questions

371. What does OFAC interpret to be debt and equity?  Are there other prohibited activities under Directives 1, 2, and 3 under Executive Order (E.O.) 13662?  Can U.S. financial institutions continue to maintain correspondent accounts and process U.S. dollar-clearing transactions for the entities subject to the prohibitions of these directives?

Answer

The term debt includes bonds, loans, extensions of credit, loan guarantees, letters of credit, drafts, bankers acceptances, discount notes or bills, or commercial paper.  The term equity includes stocks, share issuances, depositary receipts, or any other evidence of title or ownership.

The prohibitions of Directive 1 apply to all transactions involving new debt of specified tenors (see FAQ 370) or new equity; all financing in support of such new debt or new equity; and any dealing in, including provision of services in support of, such new debt or new equity.  For example, for debt that is issued on or after November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 1, the maturity of such instrument must be 14 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.

For debt that is issued on or after September 12, 2014 but before November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 1, the maturity of such instrument must be 30 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.  If the terms of the agreement do not subsequently change as described in FAQ 394, then a U.S. person may deal in such debt even after the 14-day debt limit came into effect on November 28, 2017, because such debt would not constitute “new debt” for purposes of the sanctions applicable on or after November 28, 2017.

Likewise, for debt that is issued on or after July 16, 2014 but before September 12, 2014, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 1, the maturity of such instrument must be 90 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.  If the terms of the agreement do not subsequently change as described in FAQ 394, then a U.S. person may deal in such debt even after the revised tenors came into effect on September 12, 2014 or November 28, 2017, because such debt would not constitute “new debt” for purposes of the sanctions applicable on those dates.

The prohibitions of Directive 2 apply to all transactions involving new debt of specified tenors (see FAQ 370); all financing in support of such new debt; and any dealing in, including provision of services in support of, such new debt.

For example, for debt that is issued on or after November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 2, the maturity of such instrument must be 60 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.

For debt that is issued on or after July 16, 2014 but before November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 2, the maturity of such instrument must be 90 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.  If the terms of the agreement do not subsequently change as described in FAQ 394, then a U.S. person may deal in such debt even after the 60-day debt limit comes into effect on November 28, 2017 because such debt would not constitute “new debt” for purposes of the sanctions applicable on or after November 28, 2017.

The prohibitions of Directive 3 apply to all transactions involving new debt with a maturity of longer than 30 days; all financing in support of such new debt; and any dealing in, including provision of services in support of, such new debt.

All the prohibitions of these Directives extend to rollover of existing debt, if such rollover results in the creation of new debt with a maturity of longer than the applicable tenor specified in the relevant Directive (see FAQ 394).

Transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in any debt issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of persons subject to Directives 1, 2, or 3, or equity issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of persons subject to Directive 1, is permissible if the debt or equity was issued prior to the date on which the person became subject to the relevant Directive.  In addition, transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt instruments with tenors shorter than the specified tenors, even if they are issued after the sanctions effective date, is permissible.  Transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in new equity instruments of persons subject to Directives 2 and 3 is permissible.  U.S. financial institutions may continue to maintain correspondent accounts and process U.S. dollar-clearing transactions for the persons subject to the Directives, so long as those activities:  (i) do not involve transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in transaction types prohibited by these Directives; and (ii) are not prohibited by other sanctions authorities (see, e.g., FAQS 964 and FAQs 967 - 973).

In the case of Directive 1, transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt with a maturity of 90 days or less (if issued on or after July 16, 2014 but prior to September 12, 2014) or 30 days or less (if issued on or after September 12, 2014 but prior to November 28, 2017) that was issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the persons subject to Directive 1 is not prohibited if the terms of such instruments do not change subsequently (see FAQ 394 for additional detail on what constitutes the changing of terms).  Similarly, in the case of Directive 2, transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt with a maturity of 90 days or less (if issued on or after July 16, 2014 but prior to November 28, 2017) that was issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the persons subject to Directive 2 is not prohibited if the terms of such instruments do not change subsequently.  Rollovers of such instruments must comply with the new Directive 1 and 2 maturity limits that came into effect on November 28, 2017.

Date Updated: February 24, 2022

Date Released
November 28, 2017