In a bold move to tighten its sanctions enforcement, the EU rolled out Directive 2024/1226, establishing minimum rules for defining criminal offenses and penalties related to the violation of EU sanctions. Effective May 19, the Directive mandates Member States to incorporate its provisions into their national legislation within 12 months.Continue Reading Walking the Tightrope: EU’s Sanctions Enforcement Directive Puts Violators on Notice

Effective April 24, the statute of limitations (“SoL”) under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (“TWEA”) has been extended from five to ten years. It would have been easy to miss this change, buried within a supplemental emergency appropriation bill (H.R. 815) signed into law by President Biden on April 24, 2024, but its impacts will be profound for entities facing internal or government investigations for sanctions violations.Continue Reading Say SoL Long to Short Limits: Doubling Down on the Sanctions Statute of Limitations

Author and futurist Peter Zeihan recently asserted that President Joe Biden has presided over “the most protectionist administration the United States has had in at least a century.” And Donald Trump reportedly plans to double down on protectionism if elected in November 2024. By the way, Zeihan is also the guy who predicts that The End of the World is Just the Beginning. His theory is that the global economic and political order the United States built and maintained since WWII is collapsing.Continue Reading The End of the World Order and the Rise of Trade Regulation

On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the Department of Commerce, Department of the Treasury and Department of Justice issued another Tri-seal Compliance Note, focusing this time on the obligations of foreign based persons complying with U.S. sanctions and export control laws as well as recent enforcement actions. This may signal more scrutiny on the compliance of foreign companies which we have discussed here.Continue Reading Guidance to Foreign Companies on Export Controls and Sanctions: Departments of Commerce, Treasury, and Justice Issue Tri-Seal Compliance Note on Foreign Based Persons’ Obligations to Comply with U.S. Sanctions and Export Control Laws

On November 21, 2023, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced its largest settlement in history with the virtual currency exchange Binance. This almost-billion dollar settlement is a part of a larger comprehensive settlement with the Department of Justice, FinCEN, and the CFTC, totaling over $4 billion. OFAC found that Binance had allowed 1.6 million transactions in violation of multiple sanctions regimes while Binance’s C-Suite was complicit. Binance’s blunders that led to this enforcement action highlight the importance of management commitment to compliance programs.[1]Continue Reading Binance’s Paper Compliance Program Crumples Under OFAC Scrutiny in Largest OFAC Settlement in History

On June 23, 2023, the EU released its 11th package of sanctions on Russia. This package is designed to improve enforcement with new anti-circumvention rules, new trade restrictions, and new designations. The anti-circumvention rules are quite a novel aspect and could result in the first extraterritorial reach of European sanctions.Continue Reading The EU’s 11th Sanctions Package: The Long(er) Arm of the Law

On March 31, 2023, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $72,230.32 settlement agreement with Uphold HQ Inc. (Uphold), a global multi-asset digital trading platform, in connection with 152 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, and Executive Order (E.O.) 13884. OFAC continues to focus on the virtual currency ecosystem which we have discussed here (Kraken) and here (Bittrex). This settlement provides another look at important compliance considerations for companies operating in the digital asset industry and a few practical tips.Continue Reading OFAC Finds Digital Assets Trading Platform in Violation of Sanctions