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The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has been busy over the past few weeks. First, a couple of weeks ago, they issued the amended Reporting, Procedures, and Penalties Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 501, which expanded the level of detail required for OFAC blocking and reject reports, and extended the requirement of reject reporting to non-financial institutions. Then on July 1, 2019, OFAC sent out a reminder that the…
Last week, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced the issuance of a Finding of Violation (“FOV”) to State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) for violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”), also known the Iran trade embargo. According to OFAC, State Street processed 45 transactions over a three and a half year period related to pension payments made to a U.S. bank account…
Today, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published “A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments” (“Framework”). In doing so, OFAC some what broke with tradition by providing detailed guidance on the key elements of an effective sanctions compliance program. In addition, they have highlighted some key considerations in regard to how the existence and nature of an OFAC compliance program can impact an enforcement matter, as well as highlighted…
The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has discretion to both specifically license particular transactions, as well as broadly generally authorize–i.e., generally license–whole categories of otherwise prohibited activities when it believes those authorizations to be in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. One of the areas OFAC has traditionally used their discretion to generally license is the provision of legal services to or…
Every day, funds transfers are blocked by U.S. financial institutions and others due a belief that the blocking is necessary for compliance with U.S. economic sanctions regulations administered by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). As readers of this blog may be aware, OFAC designates parties alleged to be engaged in activity that has been declared as contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests under…
As I have noted over the past year, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) has increasingly recently found itself defending its actions in U.S. District Court.  The latest lawsuit brought against OFAC was lodged by an Iranian entity, Fulmen Company (“Fulmen”), whose request for reconsideration of their designation under Executive Order (“E.O.”) 13382 was denied by OFAC on July 20, 2018.  There are two interesting aspects about the…
Last week, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a settlement with Société Générale S.A. (“Soc Gen”) for violations of various OFAC administered sanctions programs. The OFAC settlement of $53,966,916.05 represented only a portion of a larger $1.3 billion amount Soc Gen is paying out to various authorities–including, the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”), the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Federal Board (“Fed”), and…
There have been so many questions waiting to be answered since the U.S. announced that they would be withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”)–the deal reached between Iran and a number of countries concerning the former’s much disputed nuclear program. For example, who would be put back on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (“OFAC”) Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”)? Would the U.S.…
Last month, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in Chichakli v. Tillerson. For those of you unfamiliar with the litigation, Mr. Chichakli–who was formerly designated pursuant to E.O. 13348 (Liberia)–brought suit against the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the U.S. Department of State for violations of the Privacy Act arising from those agencies’ disclosures of Mr. Chichakli’s personal identifying information.…
If you’ve ever heard me speak at a conference or seminar on U.S. sanctions, then you’ll know one of my favorite sayings is: “when analyzing regulations administered by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) construe the prohibitions broadly, and the exemptions and authorizations narrowly.”  This is almost always true. However, there’s exceptions to the rule, and in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, there is one glaring exception…