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OFAC

MoneyGram has agreed to pay to the US Treasury via the Office of Foreign Assets Control the sum of USD34,328.78 "to settle its potential civil liability for 359 apparent" breaches. So, the US government once more says "give us money and we won't sue you so you get named and shamed but no actual criminal record.

BIScom Subsection: 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a settlement with BitPay, Inc., a private company based in Atlanta, Georgia, that offers a payment processing solution for merchants to accept digital currency as payment for goods and services. BitPay agreed to remit USD507,375 to settle its potential civil liability for 2,102 apparent breaches of multiple sanctions requirements. We have edited the relevant media material and commented on it.

The case provides fascinating background as US PoTUS Biden undertakes a wide-ranging review of Trump-era regulations including sanctions. Much will turn on whether such sanctions are "revoked" or "repealed" or, even, just "cancelled." It also draws attention to "know your customer's customer."

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.

Publication: 

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.

Publication: 

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)."

Publication: 

Washington 5 December 2019 – Today the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against Evil Corp, the Russia-based cybercriminal organization responsible for the development and distribution of the Dridex malware.

BIScom Subsection: 

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.

Publication: 

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.

Publication: 

The US Department of the Treasury will shortly modify the website at www.treasury.gov. The change will affect, inter alia, users of the OFAC sanctions lists. A notice, reproduced below, verbatim, informs users about the changes.
BIScom Subsection: 

This morning's collection of spam raises several issues that should interest an extremely broad range of people across organisations.

FCRO Subsection: 

On 2 July, 2018, OFAC issued a recent action notice [ https://www.treasury.gov/resou... ] notifying persons holding property blocked pursuant to OFAC sanctions regulations published in Chapter V of Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations of the requirement, as outlined in 31 C.F.R. 501.603, to provide OFAC with a comprehensive report on all blocked property held as of June 30 of the current year by 30 September.

Publication: 

Early on Saturday morning,in Setapek, one of Kuala Lumpur's most racially and religiously integrated suburbs, two men in dark, full face, helmets sat on a rare, high-powered, motorcycle for some twenty minutes. As Palestinian FADI Mohammad al Batsh, 35, passed by on his way from his home to lead dawn prayers in his role as imam, the man on the back of the bike shot him. Police reports say that he was shot four times with a high degree of accuracy: there were only two stray bullets found out of evidence that ten shots were fired. Two men nearby were not harmed. This was not a simple murder, the circumstances suggest.

CoNet Section: 

A correspondent asks "As a UK individual how do I report / alert the US authorities to the a craptocurrency used by employees and the Chairman of a group of companies with offices in St Louis, Missouri ?"

Here's the answer, and it explains differences between OFAC and FinCEN, etc. reports.

BIScom Subsection: 

On 19th March, the USA's Office of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the US Treasury, which publishes lists of persons sanctioned under trade and economic policies, under policies that are political including but not limited to national security plus those under the USA PATRIOT Act announced that it was to include, where it has it, cryptocurrency data relating to subjects. Just what are they planning and what will it mean for crypto-currency holders and exchanges and businesses such as online auctions and advertising platforms?

OFAC says "The U.S. Department of the Treasurys Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a USD344,800 settlement with Richemont North America, Inc., d.b.a. Cartier (Richemont), headquartered in New York, New York, to settle Richemont's potential civil liability for four apparent breaches of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. Part 598 (FNKSR). "

Note "apparent" and "potential." The case has lessons for commercial entities, not only financial services businesses, all over the world. It also draws attention to the risks where the USA is out of step with the rest of the world.

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