OFAC Issues New Foreign Sanctions Evaders List


The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has created a new list – the Foreign Sanctions Evaders List (“FSE List”) – that U.S. companies and others should consult when engaging in cross-border transactions.  The FSE List implements Executive Order 13608 by identifying non-U.S. persons and entities that have engaged in conduct evading U.S. economic sanctions with respect to Iran or Syria.  FSE-listed persons or entities need not be located in Iran or Syria, and in most instances they are not.

What is prohibited?

U.S. persons are generally prohibited from all transactions or dealings, direct or indirect, involving persons or entities identified on the FSE List related to any goods, services, or technology (i) in or intended for the United States, or (ii) provided by or to U.S. persons, wherever located.  Unlike the OFAC Specially Designated Nationals List with which most U.S. companies are familiar, the new FSE List does not require blocking of property and reporting of transactions with FSE-listed entities.

What should U.S. companies do to comply?

OFAC has elected to maintain a separate FSE List rather than include the FSE entries on the Specially Designated Nationals List.  Consequently, U.S. companies should screen their counterparties against both lists (as well as any other applicable U.S. or other prohibited-party lists), or confirm that the software or third-party service provider on which they rely for sanctions screening will include the FSE List within the screening protocol.  U.S. companies should also evaluate whether these new FSE List obligations should be reflected in their trade compliance programs, training, customer and distributor agreements, diligence procedures, or otherwise.

What about non-U.S. companies?

Non-U.S. companies, whether or not they are owned or controlled by U.S. persons, should also evaluate risks presented by the FSE List.  These risks include that their support of FSE List entities could result in the non-U.S. company itself being sanctioned, placed on the FSE List, and effectively denied access to the U.S. markets and financial system.

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IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this informational piece (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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