Background

A recent sanctions enforcement action serves as a reminder that remedial actions can help mitigate penalties.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control reports that a U.S. company has agreed to pay $72,230.32 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs.

OFAC states that between March 2017 and May 2022 the company or its affiliates processed 152 transactions in apparent violation of OFAC’s sanctions against Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela. These apparent violations included processing transactions for customers who self-identified as being located in Iran or Cuba, and for employees of the government of Venezuela, because the company did not screen or flag such information for sanctions compliance.

According to OFAC, the statutory maximum civil monetary penalty applicable in this matter is $44.5 million and the base penalty amount is $90,288.90. Aggravating factors included that the company failed to exercise due caution or care when it onboarded or conducted diligence on customers who provided information indicating sanctions risks and implemented inadequate screening and other compliance processes to identify, analyze, and address these risks.

Mitigating factors included that the company voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations, had a clean compliance history over the previous five years, and undertook numerous remedial measures, including a new information technology solution to screen customer information, automatic restrictions applicable to users who attempt to send transfers to beneficiaries in sanctioned jurisdictions, additional and enhanced sanctions training to all staff, increased compliance department resources in line with growth of the business, and periodic sanctions risk assessments.

For more information on complying with U.S. sanctions, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia via email.

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