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The UAE Exits FATF’s Grey List

The authors wish to thank Molly McKenna for her contributions to this post. On February 23, 2024, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) removed the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) from its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring (the “Grey List”).  As noted in our previous article (see here), FATF had intimated at its October 2023 … Continue Reading

Recent Changes to FATF’s “Grey List”; Could the UAE be Next Off the List?

Between October 25 and October 27, 2023, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), an international policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, held its third plenary meeting of the year (the “October Plenary”), at which it made important updates to its list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, often externally referred … Continue Reading

U.S. Sanctions Review: A Recap of OFAC’s Recent Enforcement Actions (Second Half 2023)

The second half of 2023 saw eight enforcement actions from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  These actions reflect a range of penalties, industries, sanctions programs, conduct, and lessons learned.  Below are some highlights from OFAC’s enforcement releases and settlement agreements. Penalties OFAC imposed a total of $984,851,289.90 in penalties … Continue Reading

United States Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Justice Issue “Tri-Seal” Compliance Note on Voluntary Self-Disclosures of Potential Violations

Earlier this year, we published a post on the first Tri-Seal Compliance Note (“First Note”) issued by the United States Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) National Security Division (“NSD”), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).[1]  When issuing the First Note, … Continue Reading

Department of Justice Initiatives Prioritize Economic Sanctions Enforcement

On March 2, 2023, the Department of Justice announced several new initiatives that prioritize the investigation and enforcement of economic sanctions evasion, export control violations, and similar economic crimes.  Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a “surge of resources to address a troubling trend: the intersection of corporate crime and national security.”  In particular, DOJ’s … Continue Reading

Congress Continues to Expand Bank Secrecy Act Whistleblower Program

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 amended the Bank Secrecy Act’s whistleblower provisions, setting a floor on the monetary award a whistleblower may receive, allowing whistleblowers to receive awards relating to successful enforcement of certain economic sanctions statutes such as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and establishing a fund from which to pay whistleblowers.  Following … Continue Reading

Increasing US Enforcement Action for Sanctions Violations by Crypto Exchanges Likely to Have Ripple Effect in UK and Europe

The investigation and enforcement of potential sanctions violations by crypto exchanges is an area of focus in the US at present.  The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) recent settlement with Kraken, a global virtual currency exchange, is the most recent OFAC case demonstrating the risks for virtual currency platforms … Continue Reading

OFAC Announces Settlement with Virtual Currency Exchange Kraken

On November 28, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced a settlement agreement with Payward, Inc., known as Kraken (“Kraken”), a United States-based virtual currency exchange. Kraken agreed to pay $362,158.70 to resolve its potential civil liability for 826 apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“Apparent Violations”). The settlement amount … Continue Reading

OFAC Sanctions Virtual Currency Mixer “Tornado Cash”

On August 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash for having laundered more than USD 7 billion worth of virtual currency since its founding in 2019.  This includes over USD 455 million worth of stolen virtual currency associated with the Lazarus Group, … Continue Reading

Russian Sanctions Update: Will “Biting” Eighth EU Sanctions Package Prohibit Legal Services?

“Russia should not benefit from European knowledge and expertise.”  That is the view of European Commission (“EC”) President Ursula von der Leyen, who recently proposed an eighth package of sanctions against Russia in response to “escalation” in Ukraine.  Among the “biting” new sanctions will be a wider ban on the provision of European services to … Continue Reading

Series: Remedies available to companies harmed by industrial espionage

The authors would like to thank Thomas Fogarty and Anya Bharat Ram for their contributions to this post. Section 1832 of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (the “Act”) criminalizes the theft of trade secrets “intended for use in interstate or foreign commerce, to the economic benefit of anyone other than the owner.” 18 U.S.C. § 1832(a). … Continue Reading

The UK’s OFSI Provides Guidance on Strict Liability Sanctions Breach Penalties

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, which is the authority for implementing financial sanctions in the UK, have published guidance to clarify how they will use their new powers to impose civil monetary penalties for sanctions breaches on a strict liability basis from Monday 15 June 2022.  The full message … Continue Reading

New DOJ KleptoCapture Task Force to Enforce Russia Sanctions

On March 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the creation of the interagency Task Force KleptoCapture (the “Task Force”) to enforce the sanctions, export restrictions, and economic countermeasures against Russian officials and oligarchs in response to the conflict in Ukraine. The Task Force will consist of prosecutors and agents from numerous federal … Continue Reading

OFAC Releases Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury recently published sanctions compliance guidance for the virtual currency industry (the Guidance).  The move was long anticipated, given the rapid industry growth and limited regulator guidance in this space.  The Guidance provides an overview of OFAC sanctions requirements and procedures, including … Continue Reading

The Treasury 2021 Sanctions Review is Complete: What Next?

On October 18, 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) released the findings from its review of the economic sanctions administered and enforced by its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). During the review, Treasury met with individuals representing hundreds of sanctions stakeholders, including Members of Congress and their staffs, the private sector, foreign … Continue Reading

OFAC Issues Updated Ransomware Advisory and Designates Virtual Currency Exchange

On September 21, 2021, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued an Updated Advisory on Potential Sanctions Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments (the “Updated Advisory”) superseding its earlier October 1, 2020 guidance on ransomware attacks and, for the first time, added a virtual currency exchange to the Specially … Continue Reading

Ransomware Payments can lead to Sanctions and Reporting Obligations for Financial Institutions

With cybercrime on the rise, two U.S. Treasury Department components, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), issued advisories on one of the most insidious forms of cyberattack – ransomware.… Continue Reading

IBK Settlements with US Authorities Regarding BSA/AML Violations

On April 20, 2020, the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) and its New York branch (IBKNY) (collectively, “the Bank”) entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with the New York Attorney General, and a Consent Order (the “Consent … Continue Reading
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