CSE Global Limited and CSE TransTel Pte. Ltd. committed 104 violations (apparently) of the Iranian sanctions by sending these wire transfers, totalling $11 million, through the US. The total amoutn of the civil monetary penalty was $12,027,066.
The violations were not voluntarily self-reported and are considered egregious by OFAC (which puts them in the most onerous quandrant of OFAC’s penalty grid). The base penalty, which is also the maximum statutory penalty, was $38,181,161.
The interesting thing in this case is that CSE signed a letter with its clearing bank promising not to route items for Iran through the bank… and yet it did.
Here is how OFAC arrived at its final settlement amount:
OFAC considered the following to be aggravating factors:
- TransTel willfully and recklessly caused apparent violations of U.S. economic sanctions by engaging in, and systematically obfuscating, conduct it knew to be prohibited, including by materially misrepresenting to its bank that it would not route Iran-related business through the bank’s branch in Singapore or elsewhere, and by engaging in a pattern or practice that lasted for 10 months;
- TransTel’s then-senior management had actual knowledge of – and played an active role in – the conduct underlying the apparent violations;
- TransTel’s actions conveyed significant economic benefit to Iran and/or persons on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons by processing dozens of transactions through the U.S. financial system that totaled $11,111,812 and benefited Iran’s oil, gas, and power industries; and
- TransTel is a commercially sophisticated company that engages in business in multiple countries.
OFAC considered the following to be mitigating factors:
- TransTel has not received a penalty notice, Finding of Violation, or cautionary letter from OFAC in the five years preceding the date of the earliest transaction giving rise to the apparent violations;
- TransTel and CSE Global have undertaken remedial steps to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions programs; and
- TransTel and CSE Global provided substantial cooperation during the course of OFAC’s investigation, including by submitting detailed information to OFAC in an organized manner, and responding to several inquiries in a complete and timely fashion.