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Sanctions In Action

Collected government notices relating to sanctions around the world. If your government department issues an RSS feed of sanctions notices, please let us know so that we can add it to this section.

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It sounds very American but the "Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation" is a part of the UK Treasury, effectively the equivalent of the USA's Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFSI as against OFAC, then. OFSI is gaining increased attention since the UK left the EU, as the UK begins to develop its own financial sanctions regime.

This case is brought under EU-era law. Importantly, it is also against a FinTech company, a sector widely considered under-regulated and lacking in compliance structures.

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On 16th July 2021, the US Department of the Treasury through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added to its list of sanctioned persons as part of the USA's continued action relating to legal and regulatory changes made in Hong Kong. They are imposed by Biden under a Trump era Act created to impose sanctions with respect to foreign persons involved in the erosion of certain obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong, and for other purposes."

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German software company SAP SE has done a deal with the USA's OFAC to avoid court proceedings relating to transactions with Iran. But that's not the important part of this story: what matters is that services were provided "in the cloud" and OFAC claims jurisdiction over it.

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The United States' Office of Foreign Asset Control has issued a penalty to a company that provides "security and scalability platforms for digital assets and offers non-custodial secure digital wallet management services." The case is interesting because it establishes that, for sanctions purposes, the internet is not a borderless world. It also demonstrates issues with Know Your Customer processes in non-face-to-face business - and the fact that, you know, people lie.

It raises serious questions for those who deliver services via the internet and which have any US footprint.

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Deutsche Bank will, in the not too distant future, become a cause of study in universities, colleges and business schools across the world. It will become the iconic example of how not to run a bank.

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Essentra FZE Limited, a manufacturer of cigarette filters and tear tape has agreed to forfeit USD 665,112 in respect of "apparent" breaches of US sanctions relating to North Korea. Essentra is a company registered in the United Arab Emirates with no physical presence in the USA.

The USA describes it as "egregious."

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This is the full text of the UK's initial sanctions list published 6 July 2020, segregated into topics. We have also reproduced the UK's statement about the status of sanctions.

See here for commentary.

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The USA and Israel are the two most prominent countries which refuse to recognise the International Criminal Court. But the International Criminal Court takes action where it finds it. And US President Trump doesn't like it when US Citizens are affected. Now he's taken the remarkable step of issuing an Executive Order on 11 June 2020 applying sanctions to those involved in the Court. And he's declared a national emergency.

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According to a statement issued by the USA's Office of Foreign Assets Control (it's primary financial and economic sanctions department which also investigates and takes action in respect of breaches) says this "Between approximately March 26, 2015 and May 19, 2015, American Express Travel Related Services Company (“Amex”) issued a prepaid card to, and processed 41 transactions totalling $35,246.82 on behalf of, Gerhard Wisser,a Specially Designated National (SDN)."

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Open General Licences - clarification on recent changes by the Export Control Joint Unit.

Webinar : 16 March at 11:00 GMT.

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OFAC has issued a "Finding of Violation" in respect of breaches of the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations relating to the maintenance of Iranian-owned aircraft. The subject of the order no longer exists but OFAC has proceeded anyway.

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If we take out the hyperbole inherent in American notices (e.g. "violation" instead of "breach" and the profligate use of words like "egregious") we get to a nitty gritty that is a stone in the shoe, a thorn in the side or any one of a dozen bon mots that indicate how and why compliance officers need to be abreast of principles more than data. One has to feel some sympathy with State Street. The case also have implications for citizens of one country living abroad, especially pensioners.

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Any business that does business in or via the USA, including doing business in US Dollars is subject to US sanctions law. The USA frequently punishes foreign businesses which it says has breached its sanctions law. While the media focus is usually on action against UK and EU banks, the simple fact is that successful actions have been brought against, even, individuals buying and selling goods via eBay. So, when the US Treasury says "this is how to design your compliance system," it makes a great deal of sense to pay attention. Yesterday, that's what it said. So pay attention.

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