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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OFAC sanctions Iranian entities for petrochemicals and petroleum sales

Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury OFAC Iran OFAC Sanctions OFAC Designations SDN List China United Arab Emirates Hong Kong India

Financial Crimes

On September 26, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13846 against an international network of companies involved in the sale of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products in South and East Asia. According to OFAC, the designations target Iranian brokers and several front companies in the UAE, Hong Kong, and India that have facilitated financial transfers and shipping of Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products. OFAC also noted that the sanctioned entities have played a critical role in concealing the origin of the Iranian shipments and enabling two sanctioned Iranian brokers to transfer funds and ship Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals to buyers in Asia. In addition to OFAC’s designations, the State Department is designating two entities based in the People’s Republic of China for their involvement in Iran’s petrochemical trade. As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the sanctioned persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Additionally, “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” U.S. persons are also generally prohibited from engaging in any dealings involving the property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons unless authorized by an OFAC general or specific license. Persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals or entities designated today may themselves be exposed to designation. Additionally, OFAC warned that “any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the individuals or entities designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent or payable-through account sanctions.”