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  • OFAC identifies non-U.S. financial institutions on new list of banks facing correspondent account sanctions

    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. Non-U.S. financial institutions engaging in activity targeted under the above-mentioned regulations risk being added to the CAPTA list.

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

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  • 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 Venezuela Sanctions OFAC Department of Treasury

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  • 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 Ukraine Sanctions

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  • 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

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  • 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 Venezuela Sanctions FinCEN

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  • OFAC reaches settlement with U.S. 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.

    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

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  • OFAC reaches settlement with non-U.S. 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

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  • 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

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  • OFAC sanctions Iranian entities and individuals supporting intelligence gathering and cyber targeting of U.S. persons

    Financial Crimes

    On February 13, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against an Iran-based entity and four affiliated Iranian individuals for their alleged roles in providing support for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force’s (IRGC-QF) efforts to recruit and collect intelligence from foreign attendees of international conferences, including facilitating contact between the IRGC-QF and U.S. persons. According to OFAC, the sanctions were issued pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which authorizes “the U.S. government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.” The same day, OFAC also sanctioned a separate Iran-based entity and six associated individuals, pursuant to Executive Order 13606, for their alleged involvement in the cyber targeting of current and former U.S. government and military personnel, in an effort to gain access to their computer systems and implant malware.

    As a result of the OFAC sanctions, all property and interests in property belonging to the identified individuals and entities and subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from entering into transactions with the individuals and entities. Additionally, OFAC notes that “any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the persons designated today pursuant to E.O. 13224 or that are Iranian persons on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons . . . could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through sanctions.”

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

    Financial Crimes OFAC Department of Treasury Iran Sanctions

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  • U.S. Treasury concerned with European Commission's identification of AML/CFT-deficient U.S. territories

    Financial Crimes

    On February 13, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a statement responding to a list of jurisdictions published by the European Commission as having strategic deficiencies related to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). The list—which includes certain jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies that were already identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (see previous InfoBytes coverage here)—also identifies 11 additional jurisdictions, including the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to the European Commission, the “banks and other entities covered by EU anti-money laundering rules will be required to apply increased checks (due diligence) on financial operations involving customers and financial institutions from these high-risk third countries to better identify any suspicious money flows.”

    Financial Crimes Department of Treasury European Union Of Interest to Non-US Persons Anti-Money Laundering Combating the Financing of Terrorism FATF

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