OFAC issues finding of violation to entity for sanctions violations
On October 14, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the issuance of a Finding of Violation to an international financial entity in Puerto Rico, for violations of the Venezuelan Sanctions Regulations (VSR), and the Reporting, Penalties and Procedures Regulations (RPPR). According to the web notice, OFAC claimed that the entity engaged in three transactions totaling approximately $50,000 in violation of VSR, failed to maintain full and accurate records related to the handling of the blocked accounts in violation of RPPR, and failed to report the blocked accounts accurately. In determining the Finding of Violation, OFAC considered aggravating factors, including that the entity failed to exercise a minimal degree of caution or care when it (i) engaged in transactions involving blocked property without obtaining an OFAC license, even though senior managers at the bank were aware an OFAC license was needed; and (ii) failed to maintain relevant records associated with the bank’s handling of the blocked property, which may have impaired its ability to provide full and accurate information to OFAC. OFAC also considered various mitigating factors, including that the entity has not received a penalty notice from OFAC in the preceding five years, it voluntarily self-disclosed the alleged violations, and it has taken numerous remedial measures.