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4 Compliance Tips Amid Increased Ransomware Scrutiny

In light of two new US Treasury Department advisories signaling increased oversight of ransomware payments, victim companies and their third-party response teams considering making payments should follow certain due diligence and compliance best practices, write Colin Jennings, Ericka Johnson, Dylan Yépez and Elizabeth Weil Shaw in an article for Law360.… Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency Exchange and its Executives Face Allegations of Failing to Maintain an Adequate AML Program

Two U.S. authorities recently announced actions against four individuals and numerous entities associated with BitMEX, an online trading platform for futures contracts and other derivative products tied to the value of cryptocurrencies.  Both actions allege that BitMEX failed to put in place required anti-money laundering programs and procedures, and serve as a reminder that institutions … Continue Reading

Ransomware Payments can lead to Sanctions and Reporting Obligations for Financial Institutions

With cybercrime on the rise, two U.S. Treasury Department components, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), issued advisories on one of the most insidious forms of cyberattack – ransomware.… Continue Reading

Sanctions Considerations for Companies and NGOs Exporting Supplies to Iran

In an earlier post, here, we scrutinized the form and content of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)’s March 6, 2020 guidance pertaining to the provision of humanitarian goods and assistance to the people of Iran consistent with U.S. sanctions. In this concluding post, we discuss the factors the … Continue Reading

OFAC Responds to COVID-19 in Iran

On March 6, 2020 and in response to an outbreak of coronavirus in Iran, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued guidance pertaining to the manner in which humanitarian goods and assistance may be provided to the people of Iran consistent with U.S. sanctions against Iran. This two-part post … Continue Reading

Special Appearance Denied In Sanctions Criminal Case

A New York federal judge recently held that a foreign bank could not challenge U.S. federal criminal jurisdiction prior to arraignment. US Allegation Halkbank is a Turkish majority state-owned bank. The United States alleged that Halkbank developed an illicit scheme comprised “of fraudulent transactions intended to deceive U.S. regulators and foreign banks” through which the … Continue Reading

Rare Due Process Reprieve for Company Penalized by OFAC for Violating Ukraine Sanctions

Following a ruling issued last week by a federal judge in Texas, ExxonMobil Corporation (“ExxonMobil”) will not have to pay a previously issued penalty for contracting with Russia’s state-owned PJSC Rosneft Oil Company (“Rosneft”), since it was not provided fair notice by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) that … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions the Gupta Family for Bribery, Corruption and Misappropriation of South African State Assets

In an earlier post, here, we examined the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“GloMag”), which was formally implemented by an Executive Order that declared “serious human rights abuses and corruption globally” as an emergency threat to U.S. interests. The President delegated his authority under GloMag to the Global Targeting Office of the U.S. Department … Continue Reading

SEC Expands Jurisdiction to Sanctions Violations

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently penalized a public company for violating U.S. economic sanctions. The violation cited the “books and records” and “internal controls” provisions of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). With this unprecedented action, the SEC has put companies on notice that the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) and … Continue Reading

OFAC Compliance Guidelines

Five months after Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, presented five of the hallmarks of an effective sanctions compliance program, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has finally published long-awaited guidance for national and international organizations subject to its regulation (the Framework). OFAC is the organization responsible for administering and enforcing US economic … Continue Reading

New OFAC CAPTA List Targets Foreign Banks

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) recently announced the creation of a new list of sanctioned parties specific to foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”). The Correspondent Account of Payable-Through Account Sanctions (the “CAPTA List”) identifies FFIs that are prohibited or severely restricted from opening or maintaining a U.S. correspondent account.… Continue Reading

2018 – Problem and Promise of Cryptocompliance in America

Having looked comparatively at the approaches of certain authorities around the world to addressing and mitigating the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, our attentions now turn to the emerging position of regulators in the U.S., which is often considered the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency market. In the first two parts of this three-part post, we examined “cryptocompliance” … Continue Reading

Iran’s “Trojan Horse” Bank

The Kingdom of Bahrain recently filed its statement of defence in an ongoing UNCITRAL arbitration in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (“PCA”) in The Hague against Iranian financial institutions Bank Melli and Bank Saderat. The statement of defence cites a Bahraini government audit evidencing a multibillion-dollar corruption scheme perpetrated by Bank Melli and Bank Saderat … Continue Reading

Global Magnitsky Sanctions Target Human Rights Abuses and Public Corruption

The first designations of individuals and entities sanctioned pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“Global Magnitsky”) are expected shortly. Congress enacted Global Magnitsky in late 2016, authorizing the President to seize property from and deny visas to: Foreign parties responsible for gross human rights violations committed against individuals who seek to promote … Continue Reading
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