Following the introduction of the Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Magnitsky-style and Other Thematic Sanctions) Regulations 2021 (the Magnitsky-style Regulations) on 21 December 2021, Australia announced the ‘first tranche’ of financial and travel sanctions under the Magnitsky-style Regulations on 29 March 2022.

As discussed in our previous updates from August 2021 and December 2021, the Magnitsky-style Regulations were introduced to expand Australia’s autonomous sanctions framework to facilitate targeted sanctions against individuals responsible for, or complicit in, serious corruption, human rights violations and cyber-crime.

The sanctions introduced on 29 March 2022 target Russian individuals responsible for corruption and human rights abuses relating to Sergei Magnitsky, a Ukrainian-born Russian lawyer and tax adviser whose death in a Russian prison after exposing corruption and misconduct of Russian government officials was the catalyst for the introduction of thematic sanctions across a number of jurisdictions.

Introducing the sanctions, the Australian Foreign Minister stated that the first tranche was in honour of Mr Magnitsky and that his case “inspired the international movement of sanctions laws to hold those responsible for his death to account, and to enable sanctions to be applied to other perpetrators of serious human rights violations and abuses, wherever they occur in the world.”

The Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Declared Persons – Thematic Sanctions) Instrument 2022 introduced on 29 March 2022 designates:

  • 14 persons responsible for the ‘serious corruption’ that was uncovered by Mr Magnitsky; [1] and
  • 25 persons who engaged in ‘serious violations or serious abuses of human rights’ by perpetrating or being an accomplice to Mr Magnitsky’s abuse and death.[2]

The 39 individuals are subject to targeted financial sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, which took effect on 30 March 2022.

The Foreign Minister stated that these sanctions are the “first of what will be ongoing sanctions using the Magnitsky-style reforms we passed in December.”