Sanctions News

From the “Risk Assessment” section of OFAC’s “A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments”:

OFAC recommends that organizations take a risk-based approach when designing of updating an SCP.

That flies in the face of everything OFAC has said over the years about sanctions being a strict liability regime. So, now imagine… if you have some level of risk-based flexibility, how might you run your sanctions compliance program differently?

Just sayin’…

Yesterday, the President issued a new executive order which targets the Iranian Supreme Leader and his office, anyone appointed by them, any Iranian state official, any person appointed to lead an Iranian entity or an entity owned by Iranian entities, or members of the board or senior management of blocked entities. Additionally, any foreign financial institution who knowingly conducts significant financial transactions for these folks will end up on the CAPTA List.

In coordination with this, OFAC added the following people to the SDN List:

BADIN, Yadollah (a.k.a. BADIN, Yadullah), Iran; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

GHOLAMSHAHI, Abbas (a.k.a. QOLAMSHAHI, Abbas), Iran; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

HAJIZADEH, Amir Ali, Iran; DOB 1961; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

KHAMENEI, Ali Husseini, Iran; DOB 19 Apr 1939; POB Mashhad, Iran; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Ayatollah (individual) [IRAN]. 

 

OZMA’I, Ali (a.k.a. OZMAIE, Ali), Iran; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

PAKPOUR, Mohammad (a.k.a. PAKPUR, Mohammad), Iran; DOB 1961; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

RAVANKAR, Mansur (a.k.a. RAVANKAR, Mansour), Iran; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

TANGSIRI, Ali Reza (a.k.a. TANGSIRI, Alireza), Iran; DOB 1962; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS). 

 

ZIRAHI, Ramezan, Iran; DOB 1969; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] [IRGC] [IFSR] (Linked To: ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS).

and updated the IRGC’s listing:

ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS (a.k.a. AGIR; a.k.a. ARMY OF THE GUARDIANS OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION; a.k.a. IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS; a.k.a. IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS; a.k.a. IRG; a.k.a. IRGC; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTION GUARDS CORPS; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY CORPS; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS; a.k.a. PASDARAN; a.k.a. PASDARAN-E INQILAB; a.k.a. PASDARN-E ENGHELAB-E ISLAMI; a.k.a. REVOLUTIONARY GUARD; a.k.a. REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS; a.k.a. SEPAH; a.k.a. SEPAH PASDARAN; a.k.a. SEPAH-E PASDARAN ENGHELAB ISLAMI; a.k.a. SEPAH-E PASDARAN-E ENGHELAB-E ESLAMI; a.k.a. SEPAH-E PASDARAN-E ENQELAB-E ESLAMI; a.k.a. THE ARMY OF THE GUARDIANS OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION; a.k.a. THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS), Tehran, Iran; Syria; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions; Additional Program Tags – [FTO] [SDGT] [NPWMD] [IRGC] [IFSR] [IRAN-HR] [HRIT-IR]. -to- ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS (a.k.a. AGIR; a.k.a. ARMY OF THE GUARDIANS OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION; a.k.a. IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS; a.k.a. IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS; a.k.a. IRG; a.k.a. IRGC; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTION GUARDS CORPS; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY CORPS; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS; a.k.a. ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS; a.k.a. PASDARAN; a.k.a. PASDARAN-E INQILAB; a.k.a. PASDARN-E ENGHELAB-E ISLAMI; a.k.a. REVOLUTIONARY GUARD; a.k.a. REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS; a.k.a. SEPAH; a.k.a. SEPAH PASDARAN; a.k.a. SEPAH-E PASDARAN ENGHELAB ISLAMI; a.k.a. SEPAH-E PASDARAN-E ENGHELAB-E ESLAMI; a.k.a. SEPAH-E PASDARAN-E ENQELAB-E ESLAMI; a.k.a. THE ARMY OF THE GUARDIANS OF THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTION; a.k.a. THE IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS), Tehran, Iran; Syria; Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions [FTO] [SDGT] [NPWMD] [IRGC] [IFSR] [IRAN-HR] [HRIT-IR] 

This should be entertaining… wonder what Europe will do….

Links:

OFAC Notice

Executive Order

Treasury Press Release

On Friday, OFAC added the following persons: to its Nicaragua sanctions program. (Note the new program code for the new Nicaragua human rights program under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018).

And the Treasury Department issued the following press release:

Treasury Sanctions Members of Nicaraguan President Ortega’s Inner Circle Who Persecute Pro-Democracy Voices 

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four Nicaraguan government officials, Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes, Orlando Jose Castillo Castillo, Sonia Castro Gonzalez, and Oscar Salvador Mojica Obregon, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13851.  Additionally, Sonia Castro Gonzalez and Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes have been designated pursuant to the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 (NHRAA).  Today’s action targets Nicaraguan government officials who persecute Nicaraguan citizens exercising their fundamental freedoms, enact repressive laws, silence news media, and deny medical care to the Nicaraguan people.

“The Government of Nicaragua continues to violate the human rights of the Nicaraguan people, implementing exploitive and violent laws and holding hundreds of people as political prisoners.  The United States is sending an unequivocal message to President Ortega and his inner circle:  we stand with the Nicaraguan people on their calls for reform and a return to democracy,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker.  “We will not hesitate to take action against those who perpetuate oppression or prop up the Ortega regime at the expense of the Nicaraguan people.”

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these individuals, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by such individuals, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.  Further details on these designations are included below.

GUSTAVO EDUARDO PORRAS CORTES

Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes (Porras) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua and for being the President of the Nicaraguan National Assembly (NNA), an entity that has enacted significant actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Nicaragua, pursuant to E.O. 13851 and NHRAA.  Porras is the senior-most political operator of President Ortega and exerts significant control over the Institute of Social Security and Ministry of Health with the approval of Vice President Rosario Murillo.  On November 27, 2018, OFAC designated Rosario Murillo for being an official of the Government of Nicaragua. 

The NNA enacted an amnesty law in early June 2019 that conditionally pardons individuals who took part in the protests beginning April 18, 2018, but requires protesters to abstain from expressing themselves in a future protest or risk having amnesty revoked.  The law also pardons police officers and parapolice fighters who took part in the Ortega regime’s violent repression against protesters, which included the killing of hundreds of protesters.  In November and December 2018, the NNA also banned nine human rights and pro-democracy organizations from operating in Nicaragua. 

ORLANDO JOSE CASTILLO CASTILLO

Orlando Jose Castillo Castillo (Castillo) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua and for being the General Director of the Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Service (TELCOR), an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in actions that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Nicaragua, pursuant to E.O. 13851.  TELCOR has been used by President Ortega and Castillo to silence independent media, including the news organization 100% Noticias. 

SONIA CASTRO GONZALEZ

Sonia Castro Gonzalez (Castro) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua, and for being the Minister of Health.  For her role as Minister of Health, Castro is designated pursuant to E.O. 13851 for leading the Ministry of Health, an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in significant human rights abuse violations pursuant to E.O. 13851.  Because the Ministry of Health is an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights against persons associated with the protests in Nicaragua that began on April 18, 2018, Castro is also designated pursuant to NHRAA.

The Ministry of Health refused treatment to victims of violent regime repression, which exacerbated injuries and even led to death, due to the lack of medical care.  Hospital staff were under orders to report admitted protesters to parapolice who removed them from hospitals, resulting in forced disappearances.  The Ministry of Health threatened healthcare workers, firing hundreds of medical personnel who treated protesters.

OSCAR SALVADOR MOJICA OBREGON

Oscar Salvador Mojica Obregon (Mojica) is designated for being a current official of the Government of Nicaragua, pursuant to E.O. 13851.  Mojica is a retired Major General of the Nicaraguan Army and the current Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.  On national television, Mojica promoted the Ortega regime’s “exile, jail, or death” strategy to silence the opposition, a policy that has left hundreds dead, thousands wounded, and tens of thousands either incarcerated, driven into exile, or internally displaced.  Additionally, Mojica manages a significant portion of President Ortega and Vice President Murillo’s official and personal finances including investments in coffee plantations and hospitality establishments.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Treasury Press Release

Amendment of the Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations (RPPR)

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations, 31 CFR part 501 (RPPR).  The RPPR sets forth standard reporting and recordkeeping requirements and license application and other procedures relevant to the economic sanctions programs administered by OFAC.  
  
This rule provides updated instructions and incorporates new requirements for parties filing reports on blocked property, unblocked property, or rejected transactions; revises the licensing procedures section to include information regarding OFAC’s electronic license application procedures, and to provide additional instructions regarding applications for the release of blocked funds; and clarifies the rules governing the availability of information under federal law, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), for information that is submitted to OFAC in connection with blocking or unblocking reports, reports on rejected transactions, or license applications.

 

This regulatory amendment is currently available for public inspection with the Federal Register and will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register on Friday, June 21, 2019.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations

Link:

EU Notice

Press Releases

Fraudulent website related to Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) wishes to alert members of the public to a press release issued by Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited on fraudulent website, which has been reported to the HKMA. Hyperlink to the press release is available on the HKMA website for ease of reference by members of the public.

Anyone who has provided his or her personal information to the website concerned or has conducted any financial transactions through the website should contact the bank concerned using the contact information provided in the press release, and report to the Police or contact the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force at 2860 5012.

 

Hong Kong Monetary Authority
10 June 2019

Link:

HKMA Notice

Yesterday, OFAC added the following entity:

LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY NON-BANK CREDIT ORGANIZATION RUSSIAN FINANCIAL SOCIETY (Cyrillic: ОϬЩЕСТВО С ОГРАНИЧЕННОЙ ОТВЕТСТВЕННОСТЬЮ НЕБАНКОВСКАЯ КРЕДИТНАЯ ОРГАНИЗАЦИЯ РУССКОЕ ФИНАНСОВОЕ ОБЩЕСТВО) (a.k.a. LLC NCO RUSSIAN FINANCIAL SOCIETY (Cyrillic: НКО РУССКОЕ ФИНАНСОВОЕ ОБЩЕСТВО ООО)), house 9/26, building 1, Shchipok street, Moscow 115054, Russia; Secondary sanctions risk: North Korea Sanctions Regulations, sections 510.201 and 510.210; Tax ID No. 7744002860 (Russia); alt. Tax ID No. 770501001 (Russia); Registration Number 1027744004903 (Russia) [NPWMD].

to its non-proliferation sanctions program.

And the Treasury Department explained why:

Treasury Designates Russian Financial Institution Supporting North Korean Sanctions Evasion

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced the designation of a Russian entity that has assisted North Korea in evading sanctions to access the international financial system.  Today’s action targets Russian-registered Russian Financial Society pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for having provided, or attempted to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, U.S.-designated Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co. Ltd (Dandong Zhongsheng), an entity that is owned and controlled by, directly or indirectly, U.S.- and United Nations (UN)-designated Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank.

“Treasury continues to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against individuals and entities in Russia and elsewhere who facilitate illicit trade with North Korea.  Those who attempt to circumvent our authorities to provide the DPRK with access to international financial markets expose themselves to significant sanctions risk,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker.

Russian Financial Society began to provide financial services to North Korea immediately upon attaining their non-banking credit organization license, which allows Russian Financial Society to transact in multiple foreign currencies.  Russian Financial Society provided bank accounts for OFAC-designated Dandong Zhongsheng and to a North Korean chief representative of Korea Zinc Industrial Group, which was also designated for operating in the mining industry in the North Korean economy and for having sold, supplied, or transferred zinc from North Korea, where revenue or goods received may benefit the Government of North Korea.

Since at least 2017 and continuing through 2018, Russian Financial Society has opened multiple bank accounts for Dandong Zhongsheng.  These actions have enabled North Korea to circumvent U.S. and UN sanctions to gain access to the global financial system in order to generate revenue for the Kim regime’s nuclear program.

Dandong Zhongsheng was designated by the United States for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, FTB, an entity whose property and interests are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13382.  Han Jang Su, FTB’s chief representative in Moscow, played a key part in acquiring banking services from Russian Financial Society.  Han Jang Su was designated by the United States on March 31, 2017, for acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, FTB.  Both Han Jang Su and FTB have also been designated by the UN Security Council Committee pursuant to Resolution 1718 (2006).

Russian Financial Society is the latest Russian financial institution sanctioned by OFAC for providing financial services to North Korea.  In August 2018, OFAC designated Russian-registered Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank for knowingly conducting or facilitating a significant transaction on behalf of Han Jang Su. 

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of this target that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Treasury Department Press Release