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 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

On March 2, 2023, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco delivered remarks to the ABA’s National Institute on White Collar Crime. Unsurprisingly, her remarks focused heavily on inspiring a culture of compliance – including highlighting the DOJ’s new policy to incentivize companies to self-report criminal activity (which our Organizational Integrity Group discusses here). But, her remarks also emphasized an emerging priority for DOJ enforcement: the intersection of corporate crime and national security.Continue Reading “Sanctions Are The New FCPA”: DOJ Increases Focus on Sanctions and Export Control Enforcement

Background

On January 5, 2023, President Biden signed into law S. 1294, the “Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022”. The Act requires the president to report to Congress and impose sanctions on any foreign person or entity the president identifies that has committed or “provided significant financial, material, or technological support” for the significant theft of trade secrets that are “reasonably likely to result in or has materially contributed to a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.”Continue Reading Potential Sanctions for Alleged Intellectual Property Theft on the Horizon?

On November 28, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced a $362,158.70 settlement agreement with Payward, Inc. (Kraken), an online virtual currency exchange, in connection with 826 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. This enforcement action highlights the OFAC compliance risks for virtual currency platforms and comes on the heels of the Bittrex settlement which we discussed here. Again, it is critical to assess your risks and take steps to make sure you’re addressing them with smart compliance and screening measures.Continue Reading OFAC Continues Focus on Virtual Currency Industry with Announced Settlement with Payward, Inc.