OFAC settles Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations violations
On September 24, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $473,157 settlement with a California-based equipment and software company for six apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). According to OFAC’s web notice, from roughly January 2016 to June 2016, the company—through a former subsidiary it had since merged with—allegedly reexported U.S. export-controlled test measurement equipment to Iran. Among other things, OFAC noted that prior to the merger, the subsidiary “committed to cease all existing and future business” with certain sanctioned countries, including Iran. However, after the acquisition, certain subsidiary personnel continued to engage in transactions with Iran, with three employees taking “measures to obfuscate from [the company] their dealings with Iran.”
In arriving at the settlement amount, OFAC considered various aggravating factors, including that (i) the subsidiary willfully violated the ITSR by shipping products in order to bypass the company’s directive to cease Iran-related business; and (ii) some of the subsidiary’s senior branch and sales managers knowingly participated in the apparent violations.
OFAC also considered various mitigating factors, including that the company (i) fully cooperated with OFAC’s investigation; (ii) undertook several remedial measures, such as terminating the appropriate employees; (iii) “assess[ed] past and current transactions for compliance with OFAC regulations, implement[ed] mechanisms to halt current transactions, and ensur[ed] that no further transactions involved restricted countries”; and (iv) enhanced its sanctions compliance program to minimize the risk of similar violations from occurring in the future.