The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Controls (“OFAC”) administers financial and economic sanctions against specific countries in response to some form of wrongdoing. OFAC sanctions are targeted broadly against 1) foreign governments and political entities, 2) individuals and groups ranging from terrorists and drug cartels to banks and other financial institutes that support those types of activities, 3) entities such as charities linked to terrorism, and 4) certain activities such as those that would lead to nuclear proliferation or otherwise violation U.S. policy interests.
Well-known sanctions programs include complete embargoes or more limited restrictions on trade with Cuba, Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Other programs include more targeted sanctions on the property of specified people from countries including Russia, Venezuela, Belarus, the Congo, and elsewhere. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called "Specially Designated Nationals" or "SDNs." Their assets are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with them. Both the sanctions programs and the SDN List are constantly changing and companies that do business internationally, particularly in political ‘hot spots’ are well advised to constantly monitor OFAC developments.
OFAC’s sanctions apply to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located. It also applies to any person who is physically in the United States regardless of his citizenship. U.S. companies and all branches of U.S. organizations throughout the world remain subject to OFAC. Likewise, U.S. branches or offices (physically located in the U.S.) of foreign corporations are subject to OFAC.
Attorneys at Barnes, Richardson are well versed in sanction law and can provide guidance on how to tailor transactions, including financial transactions, so they remain complaint with the OFAC law. Barnes, Richardson attorneys assist companies in all areas of OFAC compliance, including building and auditing robust OFAC compliance programs, preparing and submitting voluntary disclosures to OFAC, and engaging in other representations before that agency.