Skip to main content
Menu Icon Menu Icon
Close

InfoBytes Blog

Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Filter

Subscribe to our InfoBytes Blog weekly newsletter and other publications for news affecting the financial services industry.

  • OFAC identifies foreign financial institutions on new CAPTA list

    Financial Crimes

    On March 14, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the introduction of the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA list). The CAPTA list will identify foreign financial institutions that are prohibited from opening or maintaining correspondent or payable-through accounts in the U.S. pursuant to sanctions including the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, North Korea Sanctions Regulations, Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, and the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015. Certain regulations have also been amended to reflect the issuance of the new list. OFAC notes that the CAPTA list, which is separate from the Specially Designated Nationals List, will identify the specific prohibitions or strict conditions to which foreign financial institutions are subject.

    Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons OFAC Department of Treasury Sanctions

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC issues continued extension of Venezuela-related General Licenses

    Financial Crimes

    On March 8, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended two General Licenses (GL) to extend the expiration date of previous Venezuela-based GLs to May 10 for certain provisions related to sanctions issued against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company pursuant to Executive Order 13850. GL 3D, which supersedes GL 3C, authorizes transactions necessary to wind down financial contracts, and transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in certain bonds, provided the divestment or transfer (including the facilitation) of any holdings of these bonds are to a non-U.S. person. GL 9C, which supersedes GL 9B, authorizes certain transactions related to securities issued prior to August 25, 2017 by the oil company and its subsidiaries. Additionally, OFAC issued correspondingly revised FAQs 661 and 662 to provide additional clarification on expected levels of due diligence, as well as implications for U.S. and non-U.S. persons.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Venezuela.

    Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Venezuela Sanctions

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC sanctions Russian bank for providing assistance to Venezuelan oil company

    Financial Crimes

    On March 11, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against a Moscow-based bank for materially assisting Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, which was sanctioned earlier this year by OFAC pursuant to Executive Order 13850. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) The bank, which is jointly owned by Russian and Venezuelan state-owned companies, “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of,” the previously sanctioned entity. According to OFAC, the bank was also identified as “the primary international financial institution willing to finance” the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, Petro, which was allegedly created to help former President Maduro’s regime circumvent U.S. sanctions. As a result, any assets or interests therein belonging to the bank, as well as any entities directly or indirectly owned 50 percent or more by the bank that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. U.S. persons are also prohibited generally from dealing with any such property or interests.

    Visit here for continuing InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Venezuela.

    Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Venezuela Sanctions OFAC Department of Treasury

    Share page with AddThis
  • Foreign financial institutions warned: Will face sanctions for Maduro regime transactions

    Financial Crimes

    On March 6, National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton issued a statement warning foreign financial institutions that they will face sanctions if it is determined they have been involved in facilitating illegitimate transactions benefiting former President Maduro’s regime.

    See here for continuing InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Venezuela.

    Financial Crimes Of Interest to Non-US Persons Venezuela Sanctions

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC issues continued extension of Ukraine-related General Licenses

    Financial Crimes

    On March 6, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the issuance of Ukraine-related General Licenses (GL) 13K and 15E, which extend the expiration date of previous Ukraine-based GLs to July 6, 2019 for wind-down transactions for certain companies that otherwise would be prohibited by Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations.

    GL 13K supersedes GL 13J and authorizes, among other things, activities and transactions “ordinarily incident and necessary” for (i) the divestiture of the holdings of specified blocked persons to a non-U.S. person; and (ii) the facilitation of transfers of debt, equity, or other holdings involving specified blocked persons to a non-U.S. person. GL 15E, which supersedes GL 15D, relates to permissible activities with the designated company and its subsidiaries, and applies to the maintenance and wind-down of operations, contracts, and agreements that were effective prior to April 6, 2018.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Ukraine sanctions.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC Of Interest to Non-US Persons Ukraine Sanctions

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC sanctions Venezuelan security officials connected to Maduro regime

    Financial Crimes

    On March 1, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against six Venezuelan security officials connected to former President Maduro’s “illegitimate regime.” According to OFAC, the sanctions, taken pursuant to Executive Order 13692, designate the individuals in response to actions taken by groups under their control that have obstructed the delivery of humanitarian aid. As a result, any assets or interests therein belonging to the identified individuals, as well as any entities directly or indirectly owned 50 percent or more by such individuals that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. U.S. persons are also prohibited generally from dealing with any such property or interests. OFAC also refers financial institutions to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network advisories FIN-2017-A006 and FIN-2017-A003 for further information concerning the use of the U.S. financial system and real estate market by Venezuelan government agencies and individuals to launder corrupt proceeds.

    See here for continuing InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Venezuela.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Venezuela Sanctions Of Interest to Non-US Persons

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC sanctions Venezuelan governors aligned with Maduro regime

    Financial Crimes

    On February 25, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against four Venezuelan governors connected to former President Maduro’s “illegitimate regime.” According to OFAC, the sanctions, taken pursuant to Executive Order 13692, designate the individuals for engaging in “endemic corruption” and allegedly “blocking the delivery of critical humanitarian aid.” As a result, any assets or interests therein belonging to the identified individuals—along with any entities directly or indirectly owned 50 percent or more by such individuals—subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. U.S. persons are also prohibited generally from dealing with any such property or interests. In addition, OFAC refers financial institutions to Financial Crimes Enforcement Network advisories FIN-2017-A006 and FIN-2017-A003 for further information concerning the use of the U.S. financial system and real estate market by Venezuelan government agencies and individuals to launder corrupt proceeds.

    See here for continuing InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Venezuela.

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury OFAC Of Interest to Non-US Persons Venezuela Sanctions FinCEN

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC reaches settlement with Connecticut company resolving Iranian sanctions violations

    Financial Crimes

    On February 21, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $506,250 settlement with a Connecticut-based company for five alleged violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). The settlement resolves potential civil liability for the company’s alleged transactions valued at over $14 million involving the purchase of Iranian-origin cement clinker from a supplier in the United Arab Emirates who misrepresented to the company that the material was not subject to U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

    In arriving at the settlement amount, OFAC considered various aggravating factors, and noted, among that things, that while the company exercised “limited due diligence,” it failed to “substantively address the U.S. sanctions prohibitions in place with respect to Iran despite contemporaneous risk indicators” and “failed to have in place at the time of the alleged violations a compliance program “commensurate with its level of risk.”

    OFAC also considered numerous mitigating factors, including (i) the company has not received a penalty or finding of a violation in the five years prior to the transactions at issue; (ii) the company qualifies as a small business entity under U.S. Small Business Administration standards; (iii) the company took extensive preventative and remedial measures; and (iv) the company cooperated with OFAC’s investigation. OFAC further stressed the importance of implementing risk-based compliance measures when “engaging in transactions involving exposure to jurisdictions or persons implicated by U.S. sanctions.” 

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Iran.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Iran Sanctions Of Interest to Non-US Persons

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC reaches settlement with chemical manufacturer resolving Cuban sanctions violations

    Financial Crimes

    On February 14, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $5.5 million settlement with a German chemical manufacturer for 304 alleged violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR). According to OFAC, the settlement resolves the manufacturer’s alleged involvement in fulfilling Cuban orders for chemical reagents on 304 invoices. Prior to and upon acquiring the manufacturer, an Illinois-based company sent warnings to the manufacturer that all Cuban transactions must be ceased, along with guidelines for complying with U.S. sanctions. OFAC noted, however, that the manufacturer designed and implemented a system to conceal its on-going transactions, engaged an external logistics company to handle shipping documents and declarations, and conducted training sessions for staff to ensure the system was concealed from the Illinois company.

    In arriving at the settlement amount, OFAC considered the following as aggravating factors: (i) the willful conduct of the manufacturer’s management; (ii) the utilization of written procedures to “engage in a pattern of conduct in violation of the CACR”; (iii) the number of transactions over an extended period of time “caused significant harm to the sanctions program objective of maintaining a comprehensive embargo on Cuba”; and (iv) the sophistication and revenue stream of the manufacturer, and the fact that it is a subsidiary of a large, international company.

    OFAC also considered several mitigating factors, including the Illinois company’s cooperation with OFAC, voluntary self-disclosure, and execution of a tolling agreement on behalf of the manufacturer. OFAC further stressed the importance of implementing risk-based controls and due-diligence procedures to ensure subsidiaries comply with OFAC sanction obligations.

    Visit here for additional InfoBytes coverage on Cuban sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Cuba Sanctions Of Interest to Non-US Persons Settlement

    Share page with AddThis
  • OFAC sanctions officials aligned with Maduro regime

    Financial Crimes

    On February 15, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced additions to the Specially Designated Nationals List pursuant to Executive Order 13692. OFAC’s additions to the list include five current or former officials connected to former President Maduro, including the president of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, which was sanctioned at the end of January. (See previous InfoBytes coverage here.) According to OFAC, the designated individuals have engaged in “significant corruption and fraud against the people of Venezuela,” and continue to assist the Maduro regime’s repression of Venezuelan people. As a result, any assets or interests therein belonging to the identified individuals—along with any entities directly or indirectly owned 50 percent or more by such individuals—subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. U.S. persons are prohibited generally from dealing with any such property or interests.

    See here for continuing InfoBytes coverage of actions related to Venezuela.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Sanctions Venezuela Of Interest to Non-US Persons

    Share page with AddThis

Pages

Upcoming Events