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$6 Million Fine Against Dutch Company for Arranging Travel to Cuba

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced April 19 that a travel services provider company incorporated in the Netherlands that became majority-owned by U.S. persons in 2006 has agreed to pay $5.99 million to settle potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. OFAC states that from August 2006 through November 2012 this company dealt in property in which Cuba or its nationals had an interest when its business units, mostly outside the U.S., provided services related to travel to or from Cuba, assisting 44,430 persons.

The base penalty for the apparent violations is $11.1 million and the settlement amount reflects OFAC’s consideration of various facts and circumstances. On the positive side, the company voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations, the vast majority of the apparent violations occurred prior to agency notice, no finding of violation or penalty notice had been issued to the company in the previous five years, and the company provided substantial cooperation during OFAC’s investigation and has taken significant remedial action. On the negative side, the company processed unauthorized transactions for more than four years before recognizing that it was subject to U.S. jurisdiction; processed a high volume of transactions and assisted a large number of travelers, causing significant harm to the objectives of the Cuba sanctions; and (c) had no compliance program or an inadequate compliance program at the time of the apparent violations despite being a commercially sophisticated international corporation.

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