Office of Foreign Assets Control

News & Analysis as of

New Opportunities in Cuba for Universities

The Administration's recent efforts to normalize trade relations with Cuba has resulted in new opportunities for universities. Although the embargo is still in place, the Administration has carved out multiple exceptions....more

OFAC issues clarifying FAQs for Iran sanctions regulation

On June 8, 2016, US the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued several new frequently asked questions (FAQs) that provide further guidance regarding activities authorized by General License H (GLH), and address how to...more

Financial Services Weekly News - June 2016 #3

Regulatory Developments - OFAC Updates Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Lifting Sanctions on Iran - On June 8, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (OFAC) updated its...more

US Issues Additional Guidance Regarding Iran Sanctions Relief

On June 8, 2016, the US further clarified the scope of the sanctions relief provided to Iran as of January 16, 2016 (known as "Implementation Day") under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Department of the...more

The Sun is Setting On Myanmar’s Sanctions Regime

The United States imposed trade sanctions on Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma) beginning in May 1997 after determining that the military junta had committed large-scale repression of the democratic opposition in Burma. The Burma...more

Buying Russian Bonds: Risky Business or Safe Bet?

In late May, The Russian Federation issued its first sovereign bond since the Ukraine crisis in 2014. The sole organizer of the bond is VTB Capital, an arm of VTB Bank, Russia’s second largest financial institution. Both VTB...more

Trade & Manufacturing - June 2016

President Obama Signs American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 - On May 20, President Obama signed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016 into law (the Act). The Act restores the ability of the...more

Are You Within Reach of Anti-Money Laundering Enforcement? The Tentacles of Money Laundering Schemes Affect Real Estate Investors...

The U.S. Treasury Department has signaled the latest focus of its enforcement: real estate ventures with ties to money laundering schemes. Individual real estate investors and companies involved in luxury real estate, real...more

Flying the Too-Friendly Skies? Europe Opens Routes for Sanctioned Iran Airline

On June 20, 2016, you will be able to take a non-stop flight from Tehran to Paris . . . but you probably shouldn’t. According to its website, the Iranian airline Mahan Air will add the City of Lights to the list of...more

FinCEN Issues Customer Due Diligence Rules and Amends AML Program Rules

On May 11, 2016, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published a final rules release (the “Release”) containing new rules to strengthen customer due diligence (“CDD”) requirements for...more

North Korea Designation Targets Chinese Banks (IRB No. 554)

On May 25, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a finding designating North Korea as a jurisdiction of “primary money laundering concern.” On the same date, Treasury, through FinCEN, issued a notice of proposed rulemaking...more

U.S. Issues Burma General Licenses

In May, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended the Burmese Sanction Regulations, and the U.S. Department of State (State) proposed revisions to the Burma Responsible...more

Addressing AML Risks in the Era of Aggressive Enforcement

The resurgence in anti-money laundering enforcement in the last few years reflects the overall improvement in the banking industry and recovery from the financial collapse. Federal prosecutors and regulators have renewed...more

Red Notice Newsletter - May 2016

ANTICORRUPTION DEVELOPMENTS - Former Securency Manager Convicted of Corruption - On May 11, 2016, Peter Michael Chapman, former manager of polymer banknote manufacturer Securency PTY Ltd. (“Securency”), was...more

AML Risks and Foreign Correspondent Banking

With the Panama Papers scandal and government promises of continued aggressive AML enforcement, financial institutions face a variety of risks that require increased vigilance and mitigation strategies....more

"US Further Eases Burma Sanctions"

In response to Burma’s peaceful and competitive elections in November 2015, on May 18, 2016, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) further eased U.S. sanctions against Burma (Myanmar). These...more

New Economic Opportunities with Cuba Present Financial Rewards Along with Associated Compliance Challenges

The opening of Cuba to greater commercial and financial activity offers many possibilities for U.S. financial institutions but, with those possibilities, comes a responsibility to meet the complex compliance challenges that...more

Burma Sanctions Continue to Sunset (IRB No. 553)

On May 17, 2016, the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") amended the Burmese Sanctions Regulations to broaden the scope of permissible trade with Burma. The Burma regulations, which have been amended piecemeal rather...more

Panama Papers Fallout: A Push for Transparency and Regulatory Reform - Sanctions Also Levied Against Several Panama-Based...

In the wake of the "Panama Papers" – the unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from a Panamanian law firm that revealed thousands of names and addresses linked to offshore companies – the White House has announced several...more

US Further Liberalizes Burma Sanctions

On May 17, 2016, the US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) further eased the sanctions on Burma by issuing and expanding general licenses and removing certain parties from the Specially...more

United States Further Eases Economic Sanctions on Burma/Myanmar

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) eased certain sanctions against Burma/Myanmar on May 17, 2016, including by allowing most transactions involving Burmese financial institutions....more

OFAC Further Amends Cuban Assets Control Regulations – President Obama Authorizes More Travel and U.S. Presence in Cuba

On March 16, 2016, in what could be the final set of amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) under the Obama Administration, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) published a final rule that further...more

Unintended Consequences of Sanctions Intensify Syrian Refugee Crisis

Last week I wrote about one of the unintended consequences of OFAC’s “scorched earth” enforcement policy against banks and payment processors, namely, the blocking of funds transfers where the memo or the transferee name...more

New sanctions impose further restrictions on North Korea

The United Nations, the European Union and United States recently expanded sanctions on North Korea, issuing new restrictions which impact the mineral, energy, shipping, banking, finance, and aviation industries. United...more

Waked Money Laundering Organization Sanctions: OFAC Issues General Licenses and Updates

On May 5, 2016, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced sanctions against 77 entities and individuals associated with the Waked Money Laundering Organization (“Waked MLO,”...more

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