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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OFAC sanctions network connected to Iran, Houthis in Yemen

Financial Crimes OFAC Sanctions Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury Sudan SDN List Yemen

Financial Crimes

On June 10, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13224 against members of a smuggling organization that allegedly contributes to funding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and the Houthis in Yemen. According to OFAC, the group is led by an Iran-based Houthi financier and generates millions of dollars from selling commodities, such as Iranian petroleum, of which a significant amount is directed through an intricate network of intermediaries in several countries to the Houthis in Yemen. OFAC Director Andrea M. Gacki noted that financial support from the network “enables the Houthis’ deplorable attacks threatening civilian and critical infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” and that the attacks “undermine efforts to bring the conflict to an end and, most tragically, starve tens of millions of innocent civilians.” As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned individuals, and “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more” by the individuals that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. OFAC’s announcement further noted that OFAC regulations “generally prohibit” U.S. persons from participating in transactions with designated persons and foreign financial institutions that knowingly participate in significant transactions related to the designated individuals risk sanctions that could discontinue their access to the U.S. financial system or block their property or interests in property under U.S. jurisdiction.

In addition, OFAC announced the removal of sanctions on three former Government of Iran officials, and two companies who were previously connected to the handlings of Iranian petrochemical products. According to OFAC, “these delistings are a result of a verified change in behavior or status on the part of the sanctioned parties and demonstrate the U.S. government’s commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of a change in behavior or status for sanctioned persons.”

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