Secondary Sanctions, Growth of Counter Sanctions and Implications for Contracts

  • When: May 20, 2020
  • Time: 9AM-10:20AM ET / 2PM-3:20PM BST
  • Level: All

* This session is included with Enterprise membership

The terms secondary sanctions and counter sanctions can provoke strong reactions from governments and markets alike. While the actual imposition of US secondary sanctions has been relatively restrained, the mere threat of use exposes many non-US actors to a potential disconnection from the U.S. financial system if they engage in certain conduct with a sanctioned entity. Furthermore, the impact and implications for global business has been amplified by the continual expansion of countries subject to US primary or secondary sanctions, particularly in cases where the target country is closely integrated with the global economy – also heightening the potential for effective counter-measures.

Various jurisdictions across the world have begun the process of implementing counter-sanctions measures, seeking to shield domestic companies from the extraterritorial reach of secondary sanctions. These have included blocking statutes, such as those implemented by the European Union and Canada, moving away from using the US dollar, and even the potential establishment of a non-Western version of SWIFT. Blocking statutes can present a complicated legal obstacle for global business, where conflicting sanctions legislation between two countries cannot be simultaneously complied with. To learn more about how these challenges play out in practice and what the future may hold for secondary sanctions and cross-border conflicts of law, please do join our expert panel discussion.

The panel discussion will include

  • Contextualizing the rise of secondary sanctions and their extraterritoriality
  • The scope for countersanctions and their implications
  • Civil legal challenges, such as civil enforcement cases within the EU
  • Conflict of law court cases, such as Lamesa Investments Ltd v Cynergy Bank Ltd (2019)
  • Managing contract clauses
  • Mapping the growth of secondary sanctions and countersanctions measures


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Justine Walker
  • Justine Walker

  • Head of Global Sanctions and Risk


Until December 2019 Justine was the Director of Sanctions Policy at UK Finance. The former chair of the European Banking Federation Sanctions Expert Group, a position she held from 2015 until December 2019, Justine has held specialist policy positions in the United Kingdom at the Financial Services Authority and the Treasury’s Counter Terrorist and Proliferation Financing Branch. She has further acted as an International Monetary Fund advisor on the Nigerian anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing capacity building program. Formerly based in Central Asia with the United Nations, she has also worked on programs surrounding weapons and drug trafficking, corruption and terrorist financing, and has served as a national expert on the financing of weapons of mass destruction matters.

Justine has extensive experience of working with foreign governments, international bodies and financial institutions on cross border sanctions matters. This includes acting as an independent expert to the UN and other bodies on the promotion of payment channels in support of permissible international humanitarian activity within sanctioned and fragile jurisdictions, particularly Syria. On behalf of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and under the auspices of the German G20 Presidency, she prepared the special report on access to finance for forcibly displaced persons.

Within ACAMS Justine is tasked with leading critical industry and public-sector relationships, including engagement with key international bodies and think tanks. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews and an M.Sc. from the University of Edinburgh.


Colin Butler
  • Colin Butler

  • Head of Sanctions for UK and EMEA
  • Credit Suisse


Colin joined Credit Suisse in April 2014 prior to becoming the Head of Sanctions for UK and EMEA, a position he has held since September 2014. Colin’s move to the Sanctions desk coincided with the expansion of sectoral sanctions under the EU and US Russian/Ukrainian sanctions regimes. Consequently, the majority of his advisory assistance, to both the Investment and Private bank, has had a Russian emphasis.

Prior to joining Credit Suisse Colin spent 16 years as a civil and commercial litigator (and Cedr accredited commercial mediator) in private practice. During this time he acted for a wide variety of clients from banks, hedge funds (and their beneficial owners) to large commercial concerns in the UK, Central and Eastern Europe, and well-known individuals. For 12 of those years Colin was a partner within a medium sized commercial practice, the last 6 of which were spent as managing partner of the London office.

Maya Lester
  • Maya Lester QC

  • Barrister
  • Brick Court Chambers


Maya Lester QC is a barrister at Brick Court Chambers, specialising in sanctions law.  She was educated at Cambridge University and Yale Law School before becoming a barrister in 2000 and a QC in 2016.  She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts (including on the new UK Sanctions Act, the EU Blocking Regulation, sanctions contract clauses and investigations) and has acted in most of the leading cases.  She founded and co-writes the blog (the main international sanctions legal resource, with over 7000 followers worldwide).  Maya has given evidence to four parliamentary inquiries on sanctions and spoken at numerous conferences. The legal directories describe her as “Queen of the Sanctions Bar without a doubt”.

Adam Smith
  • Adam Smith

  • Partner
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher


Adam Smith, a partner at the U.S. law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, is one of the leading sanctions lawyers in the United States, a former senior advisor to the Director of OFAC and Director of Multilateral Affairs on the White House National Security Council staff.  From 2010-2015 Adam worked in the Obama Administration developing, implementing and enforcing core sanctions programs concerning Iran, Russia, Myanmar, Cuba, and Venezuela.  He played a principal role in forging trans-Atlantic cooperation on sanctions matters and met with dozens of private sector actors globally to discuss sanctions compliance and regulators’ expectations.  Adam has been in the private sector since 2015 working with global companies on sanctions matters.  He also continues to advise governments by providing a private sector perspective and advice concerning best practices and pitfalls, and has presented at ACAMS meetings around the world.  Adam was commissioned to write and recently published the first desktop treatise on sanctions compliance: US, EU and UN Sanctions: Navigating the Divide for International Business (Bloomberg BNA, 2019).