Tag Archives: Sanctions

New Business Opportunities in Iran! But Who Will Be Your Banker? Non-U.S. Banks Hesitant to Process Lawful Iran Transactions…and for Good Reason

Highlights: Sanctions relief presents new business opportunities with Iran Most U.S. companies are still prohibited from Iran business, but the U.S. government is encouraging lawful business by non-U.S. companies The line between permitted and prohibited financial transactions by non-U.S. banks is not clear Careful advice of counsel is critical… Continue Reading

The Day of North Korea Sanctions: the UN Imposes the Toughest North Korea Sanctions Yet While OFAC and State Designate More North Korean Entities

After weeks of negotiations and a Putin-backed delay, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2270 on March 2, 2016, imposing new sanctions against North Korea. According to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the resolution imposes the strongest set of UN sanctions in over two decades. This article provides a summary of the new … Continue Reading

Airplanes, Pistachios, and a New Burger Joint in Tehran: What Changes for the United States Under Lighter Iran Sanctions

On January 16, 2016, two NFL playoff games and a historic revision of U.S. foreign policy took place. Many of us enjoyed the first two (did you see that last-second touchdown pass?!) but did not pay close attention as the United States lifted many of its secondary sanctions against Iran. Even those normally attentive to … Continue Reading

Keep Your Frenemies Close: Proposed China Sanctions and the Price of Escalation

On August 30, 2015, the Washington Post broke a story that the Obama administration is developing a package of economic sanctions that will target Chinese companies and individuals who have benefitted from cybertheft. The new sanctions would come at a time when commerce between the two countries is thriving, but political relations are strained.… Continue Reading

A Break From the Past: Historic Deal with Iran Marks A New Day in U.S.-Iran Relations

Today, President Obama announced a landmark agreement with Iran designed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting sanctions that have retarded the country’s development for the decades since the revolution. The agreement is the result of 20 tough months of negotiations among Iran and the so-called P5+1 (the United States, … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Western powers have agreed to agree again. On April 2, 2015, the so-called P5+1 (the United States, the UK, China, France, and Russia) along with the EU, have joined Iran in announcing that they have reached a set of broad “parameters” to be negotiated in detail between now and June 30, 2015, regarding … Continue Reading

The Broader Problem: European Bank Creates an Easy Catch for the Long Arm of U.S. Jurisdiction

On March 12, 2015, Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second largest bank and a global financial institution, agreed to pay $1.45 Billion (yes, with a “B”) in forfeitures and fines to the U.S. Government for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and Sudan. The amount paid by Commerzbank under the settlement will not be shocking to those who … Continue Reading

Paying the Piper: PayPal Inc. Settles Sanctions Violations with OFAC for $7.7 Million

On March 25, 2015, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that PayPal Inc. (“PayPal”) agreed to pay $7.7 million to settle 486 violations of U.S. economic sanctions.  According to OFAC, for several years until 2013, PayPal, one of the world’s largest electronic payment companies, did not have adequate compliance processes … Continue Reading

Round Two: Prosecutors Reopen Bank Settlements

With our political system suffering from a growing chasm down party lines, our public servants seem to be increasingly vulnerable to public pressure.  Politicians scramble to fight for whatever cause du jour will garner them the most support.  And lately, no political act is guaranteed to please Main Street quite so much as blaming the … Continue Reading

Accounts and Accountability: Arab Bank Found Liable for Transactions Under the Anti-Terrorism Act

On September 22, 2014, a Brooklyn jury found Arab Bank, Jordan’s largest lender, guilty of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act for providing financial services to individuals and entities linked to Hamas. Hamas is currently designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and is listed on the … Continue Reading

CLIENT ALERT: United States Imposes New Sanctions and Export Restrictions Against Russian Banks, Companies, and Individuals

On July 16, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed new sanctions against Russia, which target the country’s financial, energy and defense sectors.  In a parallel action, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added 11 parties to its Entity List based on their role in … Continue Reading

Uganda Be Kiddin’ Me: United States Slaps On Sanctions in Response to Anti-Gay Law

Last month, the United States announced new sanctions against Uganda in response to human rights violations, targeted discrimination, and draconian criminal penalties.  Specifically, on June 19, the Obama administration quietly revealed plans to cancel a U.S. military-sponsored exercise in Uganda, to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials, and to discontinue or … Continue Reading

BNP Paribas and La Résistance: Why Compliance is not Capitulation and Cooperation Could Save an Economy

I will start by saying I am a proud Francophile. I love many things about French culture; from the just-right draw of their espresso (sorry, Italy, that ristretto is just too short and bitter) to the sacrosanct treatment of time for leisure and family. Indeed, most attempts by the country to preserve la vie Française are idealistic efforts to protect what … Continue Reading

Starving the Bear: The United States Restricts Exports to Russia

The pressure on Russia continues to build.  As we previously reported here and here, throughout March, the United States and other Western powers implemented a series of sanctions against individuals and entities deemed to be involved in the political destabilization of Ukraine.  Those sanctions were restricted to specific parties, including high ranking Russian and Ukrainian … Continue Reading

The Gloves are Off: U.S. Sanctions Block Aggressors in Crimea

In response to Russia’s military presence in the Crimean region of Ukraine, President Obama issued an Executive Order (“EO”) on March 6, 2014, authorizing the blocking of property of individuals and entities involved in the political destabilization of Ukraine. The EO provides categories of persons subject to the sanctions but leaves the U.S. Treasury and … Continue Reading

Iran Sanctions: 2013 and Beyond

2013 was a banner year for the U.S. sanctions program against Iran.  For the first time in recent history, not all of the big Iran news involved new restrictions and prohibitions.  True, there were plenty of those, especially during the beginning of the year as the U.S. government implemented legislation passed in 2012.  But the … Continue Reading

The European Court of Justice Overturns, Unfreezes EU Iran Sanctions

By: Mark Jensen In a series of recent rulings, the European Court of Justice overturned economic sanctions issued by the Council of the European Union (EU) on several Iranian banks and shipping lines.  On September 6 and 16, 2013, the Court halted sanctions on Persia International Bank plc, Bank Refah Kargaran, Export Development Bank of Iran, Post Bank Iran, Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Co., Iran Insurance Company, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Khazar Shipping Lines, and Good Luck Shipping.  The EU had sanctioned these entities for their support of nuclear proliferation activities in Iran, but the Court determined that the EU lacked sufficient evidence to introduce such sanctions.  The cases are notable for their effect on global sanctions against Iran, although it seems unlikely that U.S. sanctions against Iran would be lifted on similar grounds.… Continue Reading

U.S. Sanctions Target Russian Corruption, Human Rights Violations

By: Thad McBride Asserting that “the protection of human rights … is not left exclusively to the internal affairs of [any one] country,” in December 2012 the United States enacted the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 (the “Magnitsky Act”).  Under the law, the President is required to identify individuals found to be involved in human rights violations and impose targeted sanctions on them.  Interestingly, as discussed below, these sanctions seem to be based in significant part on concerns about corruption in Russia.  While the U.S. government continues to aggressively enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with respect to parties giving bribes, the Magnitsky Act suggests that Congress may seek to employ economic sanctions to target recipients of corrupt payments. … Continue Reading
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