In Germany, the sanctions regime is predominantly governed by the relevant instruments of the European Union [Link to our EU sanctions page]. A breach of the relevant sanctions rules, committed intentionally or negligently, may constitute an administrative offence punishable by a fine or even a criminal offence punishable by a fine or prison.
The competent authorities dealing with sanctions related matters in Germany are
(i) Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank in relation to any financial transactions and
(ii) the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (BAFA)) in relation to goods and services.
An interesting feature of German law is section 7 of the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung – AWV), according to which the “issuing of a declaration in foreign trade and payments transactions whereby a resident participates in a boycott against another country (boycott declaration) shall be prohibited”. However, in our experience this provision is not often invoked. In addition, in most cases the sanctions measures taken by the major Western powers are aligned. However, due care should be taken when signing up to non-EU embargo clauses which have no equivalent under the EU and/or German sanctions regimes.