Archives: Government Enforcement

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FinCEN, OFAC Increase Coordination of Enforcement Activities

Recent joint activity by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), including joint actions against Venezuela and North Korea, suggest that the two Treasury agencies are increasing coordination to tackle financial and other crimes. On September 20, 2017, FinCEN issued an advisory which detailed widespread corruption in Venezuela, … Continue Reading

OFSI Issues Regulations Implementing Civil Penalties for Financial Sanctions Violations

Following up on our previous post, yesterday the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) issued regulations formally implementing the civil penalties framework set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2017.  OFSI has issued a press release, regulations regarding civil penalties, responses received to OFSI’s request for consultation regarding draft guidance issued in December … Continue Reading

UK to Move Towards US-Style Sanctions Enforcement with Upcoming Penalty Regulations

The UK’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation will soon issue regulations that could significantly alter the British sanctions enforcement environment, and bring it closer in line with the US’s approach to such violations.  On the heels of the newly-enacted Policing and Crime Act 2017, the regulations will introduce civil penalties for the violation of financial … Continue Reading

“Egregious” Sale of Flower Seeds to Iran Shows No Sector is Immune from OFAC

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reached a $4,320,000 civil settlement with PanAmerican Seed Company (PanAm Seed) for alleged violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) that occurred between 2009 and 2012. OFAC treated this as an “egregious case,” which may raise eyebrows because it involved the export of seeds, … Continue Reading

New BIS Enforcement Guidance Yields Useful Insight, but Few Practical Changes

On June 22, 2016, the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), finalized a new enforcement policy for administrative (i.e., non-criminal) matters called the Guidance on Charging and Penalty Determinations in Settlement of Administrative Enforcement Cases (Guidance).  The Guidance, which is effective immediately, lays out the factors that BIS and its Office of … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Company Hit with ITAR Penalty for a Single Individual Deemed Export Violation; Settlement Highlights Importance of Timely Disclosure

In its second enforcement action this year, on June 20th, the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) reached a $100,000 settlement with Massachusetts-based Microwave Engineering Corporation.  Despite the small penalty amount, this case is noteworthy in several respects. … Continue Reading

60 Minutes Report on Bungled Chinese-American Espionage Case Highlights Criminal Risk Faced by Individuals and Government Contractors

A recent 60 minutes report about an ill-conceived criminal case against Xiaoxing Xi, the chair of Temple University’s physics department, carries important lessons for individuals who operate in the high-tech space, along with universities and other government contractors.  The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania brought criminal charges against Dr. Xi, alleging that … Continue Reading

To Disclose or not to Disclose, or to Double-Disclose? Dept. of Justice Soon Entering the Fray on Export Controls/Sanctions Voluntary Disclosures

If submitting a voluntary disclosure to OFAC, BIS, DDTC or one of the many other agencies involved in export controls and sanctions enforcement was not enough, it is becoming increasingly clear that it will soon be necessary to consider whether to disclose possible criminal wrongdoing to the DoJ as well. David Laufman of the DoJ’s … Continue Reading

Canadian Supreme Court Ruling Confirms World Bank Immunities

On April 29, 2016 the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice could not compel the World Bank to produce records or require its personnel to testify in court. The case, World Bank Group v. Wallace, challenged the immunities granted to the Bank that cover its archives and employees. Over the … Continue Reading

Halliburton Settlement Shows Risks of Dealing with Entities Partially Owned by Sanctioned Entities

On February 25, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that it concluded an enforcement action against Halliburton Atlantic Limited (“HAL”) and its affiliate Halliburton Overseas Limited (“HOL”) for alleged violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (“CACR”). HAL and HOL are both Cayman Islands-headquartered subsidiaries of U.S. … Continue Reading

FinCEN Reissues Final Rule Against FBME Bank

On March 25, 2016, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it is reissuing a final rule against FBME Bank Ltd. (FBME).  Under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, FinCEN has authority to designate a foreign financial institution as a “primary money laundering concern” and promulgate a rule imposing “special measures” … Continue Reading

OFAC Issues a Finding of Violation Against MasterCard Over Reporting Requirements

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a Finding of Violation to MasterCard on March 16 for failing to report accounts in which blocked entities held interest. The Finding of Violation represents a rare instance of enforcement of the Reporting, Procedures, and Penalties Regulations (RPPR). Although MasterCard had restricted … Continue Reading

2015 FCPA Roundup

In 2015, enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) continued to evolve as U.S. government agencies focused their investigations and other countries ramped up their own involvement. While enforcement statistics and monetary penalties remained steady, or even lower than previous years, 2015 trends pointed towards a more complex compliance environment going forward, with increasing … Continue Reading

Court Approves First Ever UK Deferred Prosecution Agreement

On November 30, 2015, a UK court approved for the first time ever the suspension of criminal proceedings against a company under terms set out in a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). In exchange, Standard Bank Plc agreed to comply with various terms, including payments to the Government of Tanzania of $6 million in compensation, disgorgement … Continue Reading

FinCEN’s Expanding Enforcement in 2015

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) was very active in the waning days of 2015.  And FinCEN’s message from this activity is clear – it is closing any gaps it finds in anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement, including for non-traditional financial institutions, not used to being the focus of regulation, but increasingly the choice … Continue Reading

Our Take on DOJ’s New Focus on Individual Prosecution

Recently, the US Department of Justice announced new guidelines intended to strengthen the pursuit of individual corporate wrongdoing.  The guidelines require corporations to identify all culpable executives and disclose all facts related to their misconduct before receiving any cooperation credit.  They also prohibit line prosecutors from reaching corporate settlements that protect individual wrongdoers from criminal … Continue Reading
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