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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations


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  • OFAC revokes Venezuela-related general license

    Financial Crimes

    On July 2, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) revoked and archived Venezuela-related General License 37 “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Delos Voyager Shipping Ltd, Romina Maritime Co Inc, and Certain Vessels.” Additionally, OFAC removed eight companies from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list.

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

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  • Global advisory addresses illicit shipping and sanctions evasion practices

    Financial Crimes

    On May 14, the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, issued a global advisory warning the maritime industry of deceptive shipping practices used by Iran, North Korea, and Syria to evade economic sanctions. The “Sanctions Advisory for the Maritime Industry, Energy and Metals Sectors, and Related Communities” expands upon previously issued advisories and discusses due diligence approaches that entities, including financial institutions, should employ to monitor illicit activity and mitigate the risk of potentially engaging in prohibited activities or transactions. Among other things, the advisory provides a list of general compliance practices that may help entities “in more effectively identifying potential sanctions evasion.” These include: (i) institutionalizing sanctions compliance programs; (ii) establishing Automatic Identification System (AIS) best practices and contractual requirements to monitor for manipulations and disruptions, which may be an indication of potential illicit or sanctionable activity; (iii) monitoring ships throughout the entire transaction lifecycle, including those leased to third parties; (iv) knowing your customers and counterparties; (v) exercising supply chain due diligence; (vi) incorporating these best practices into contractual language; and (vii) engaging in industry information sharing of challenges, threats, and risk mitigation measures.

    See here for previous InfoBytes coverage on global shipping advisories.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Sanctions Department of Treasury Department of State Of Interest to Non-US Persons North Korea Iran Syria

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  • OFAC sanctions Iranian petroleum shipping network

    Financial Crimes

    On September 4, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 against a complex shipping network “that is directed by and financially supports the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and its terrorist proxy Hizballah.” According to OFAC, the IRGC-QF managed to obfuscate its involvement in moving hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of Iranian oil over the past year through the use of the sanctioned shipping network for the benefit of illicit actors. The sanctioned shipping network includes 16 entities and 10 individuals, as well as 11 vessels identified as “as property in which blocked persons have an interest.”

    As a result of the sanctions, “all property and interests in property of these entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.” OFAC noted that its regulations “generally prohibit” U.S. persons from participating in transactions with the designated persons, and warned foreign financial institutions that if they knowingly facilitate significant financial transactions for any of the designated entities, they may be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through account sanctions. Additionally, OFAC issued a reminder that “the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran is sanctionable pursuant to E.O. 13846,” and released a new shipping advisory warning the maritime community of these types of schemes and the sanctions risks associated with blocked persons.

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

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  • OFAC sanctions target North Korea’s shipping and trading industry

    Financial Crimes

    On February 23, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed additional sanctions targeting the North Korean shipping and trading industry. The sanctions include the designation of 27 entities, 28 vessels, and one individual consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin stated, “Treasury is aggressively targeting all illicit avenues used by North Korea to evade sanctions, including taking decisive action to block the vessels, shipping companies, and entities across the globe that work on North Korea’s behalf. This will significantly hinder the Kim regime’s capacity to conduct evasive maritime activities that facilitate illicit coal and fuel transports, and erode its abilities to ship goods through international waters.” All property or interests in property held by the sanctioned individual and entities within U.S. jurisdiction must be blocked, and transactions between the designated persons and Americans are also prohibited.

    Separately, OCAC issued a global shipping advisory in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Coast Guard to, among other things, (i) outline methods employed by North Korea to facilitate illicit transactions to evade sanctions; (ii) list due diligence steps companies should employ to monitor illicit North Korean activity and mitigate the risk of potentially engaging in prohibited activity or transactions; and (iii) provide an overview of penalties associated with violating U.S. or UN sanctions.

    See here for previous InfoBytes coverage on North Korean sanctions.

    Financial Crimes OFAC Sanctions CAATSA International Department of Treasury

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