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Company Fined Nearly $400,000 for Shipment to China on Iranian Vessel

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced June 19 that an Illinois company has agreed to pay $391,950 to settle potential civil liability for the following alleged violations of sanctions against weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters.

- goods the Illinois company sold to a Chinese company were shipped by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines aboard a blocked vessel from Spain to China

- trade documents related to the shipment were presented to a U.S. bank for payment pursuant to a letter of credit

- the Illinois company presented trade documents related to the IRISL shipment to a Spanish bank to receive payment after the U.S. bank declined to advise the L/C and the trade documents had been returned to the company pursuant to an OFAC license

 - the Illinois company reimbursed its foreign subsidiary for charges paid to its freight forwarder for the shipping services rendered by IRISL and to the Spanish bank for fees associated with negotiating the L/C

The base penalty amount for the apparent violations was $670,000. The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s consideration of the following to be aggravating factors: company management knew of some of the conduct at issue, economic benefit was conferred to a blocked entity, and the company is a sophisticated entity that conducts business throughout the world. On the other hand, OFAC considered the following to be mitigating factors: the company has not been the subject of an OFAC penalty notice or finding of violation in the last five years; the company implemented some remedial measures to prevent a recurrence of the apparent violations, including employee training, enhancements to its compliance program and enhanced party screening; and the company cooperated with OFAC’s investigation, including by agreeing to toll the statute of limitations for 514 days.

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