OFAC reaches $4.1 million settlement with holding company to resolve Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations violations
On October 20, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a more than $4.1 million settlement with a Nebraska-based multinational conglomerate holding company to resolve 144 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations engaged in by its indirectly wholly owned Turkish subsidiary. According to OFAC’s web notice, the Turkish subsidiary, in violation of the company’s compliance policies, allegedly sold goods to two third-party Turkish distributors knowing that the goods “would be shipped to a distributor in Iran for resale to Iranian end-users, including several entities later identified as meeting the definition of the Government of Iran.” The Turkish subsidiary also purchased goods manufactured by other company subsidiaries, and allegedly took measures “to obfuscate its dealings with Iran” and conceal these activities from the company. Employees of certain other company subsidiaries also allegedly received communications revealing that these orders may have been intended for Iranian end users; however only one of these subsidiaries warned the Turkish subsidiary that such transactions were prohibited.
In arriving at the settlement amount, OFAC considered various aggravating factors, including that (i) the Turkish subsidiary’s management “willfully engaged” in prohibited transactions, and certain senior management “intentionally concealed its dealings with Iran”; (ii) certain company subsidiaries had knowledge, or reason to know, that some of the products sent to the Turkish subsidiary were intended for Iran; and (iii) the Turkish subsidiary “demonstrated a pattern of conduct by knowingly engaging in prohibited dealings for approximately three years.”
OFAC also considered various mitigating factors, such as (i) the company voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations, and cooperated with the investigation; (ii) the company and its subsidiaries and affiliates signed a tolling agreement; and (iii) the company has undertaken remedial measures, including enhancing its compliance procedures for foreign subsidiaries, to minimize the risk of similar violations from occurring in the future.