Latest Articles

  The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is known for imposing hefty penalties for violations of US economic sanctions, with individual violations amounting to up to US $295,141 or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater, per prohibited transaction, and overall penalties sometimes running into the hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars. Despite this, OFAC historically has not provided much guidance for companies on the…
  Over the last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued two updated advisories, as well as issued a series of new designations of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs), highlighting the sanctions-related risks for, and the focus on, the shipping community. Taken together, they provide important guidance for members of the shipping industry—including shipping companies, ship owners, insurance companies, and financial institutions with shipping practices, port operators, and…
On January 31, 2019, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. (“ELF”) agreed to pay $996,080 to settle its potential civil liability for 156 apparent violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations (NKSR). Elf is a cosmetics company headquartered in Oakland, California. (Stephan) ELF appeared to have violated § 510.201(c)1 of the NKSR by importing 156 shipments of false eyelash kits from two suppliers located in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that contained materials sourced by these…
On February 14, 2019, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it had assessed a civil monetary penalty of over $5.5 million dollars against AppliChem GmbH (AppliChem) of Darmstadt, Germany (a company that manufactures chemicals and reagents for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries) for 304 violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (CACR). Specifically, OFAC determined that between May 2012 and February 2016, after it had been purchased by…
On February 11, 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended two General Licenses (GLs) and revised three Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to the January 28, 2019 designation of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) and the Government of Venezuela. The amended GLs provide further guidance on how to navigate the recently-issued sanctions on PdVSA. Amended GLs: General License 3C (“GL3C”): replaces GL3B by (a) extending the deadline to wind…
On January 31 and February 1, 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended two General Licenses (GLs) relating to the January 28, 2019 designation of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), amended two Venezuela-related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and issued thirteen new FAQs. The new amendments and additions provide additional guidance for navigating the PdVSA sanctions and clarify, to some extent, the scope of authorization in each of the…
On January 31, 2019, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Inc. (“ELF”) agreed to pay $996,080 to settle its potential civil liability for 156 apparent violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations (NKSR). Elf is a cosmetics company headquartered in Oakland, California. ELF appeared to have violated § 510.201(c)1 of the NKSR by importing 156 shipments of false eyelash kits from two suppliers located in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that contained materials sourced by these suppliers…
On January 28, 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13850 – “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela”. Further, OFAC amended General License 3, issued eight (8) new General Licenses, and published a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) on the new E.O. – “Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect…
On January 16, 2019, the Trump administration signaled a possible major shift in its policy toward Cuba by announcing it was considering allowing the suspension of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to lapse, thereby opening the floodgates to litigation over property confiscated by Fidel Castro and the Cuban government 60 years ago. History of the Act The Helms-Burton Act, formally titled the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidary Act (a/k/a the Libertad Act), was signed…
On November 5, 2018, in accordance with President Trump’s May 8, 2018 decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an amendment to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). The amendment followed on the expiration of the final 180-day wind-down period for transactions previously authorized by “General License H” and for the re-imposition of the remaining “secondary sanctions,” which…