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Andrea Tovar

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On December 13, 2019, the US Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) National Security Division (“NSD”) released a revised policy regarding voluntary self-disclosures of willful export control and sanctions violations (the “Policy”).  The Policy reiterates DOJ’s commitment to pursue willful violations of export control and sanctions violations, and supersedes the DOJ’s “Guidance Regarding Voluntary Self-Disclosures, Cooperation, and Remediation in Export Control and Sanctions Investigations Involving Business Organizations,” dated October 2, 2016 (“2016 Guidance”).

The Policy clarifies the requirements for companies seeking to receive credit for voluntary self-disclosures (“VSD”) of willful export control or sanctions violations, and sets forth the potential benefit to companies who meet the requirements set forth in the Policy.

On October 25, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a final rule identifying Iran as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern (“Final Rule”) under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT ACT, seeking to further isolate Iran from the global financial system.  Concurrently, the US Treasury and State Departments announced a new humanitarian mechanism to ensure that funds associated with permissible trade in support of the Iranian people are not diverted by the Iranian regime to develop ballistic missiles, support terrorism, or finance other malign activities.  These measures build upon the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (“OFAC”) additional sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran discussed in our prior blog post here.   

On October 9, 2019, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) added 28 Chinese entities to the Entity List because they are accused by the US Government of being associated with human rights violations and abuses against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinijiang Uighur Autonomous Region (“XUAR”). All exports, reexports, or in-country transfers of items (i.e., goods, software, technology) subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), including EAR99 items, are now subject to a license requirement to such entities. The final rule also includes an extensive list of aliases for these entities.

On August 30, 2019, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published Due Diligence Guidance urging companies to employ heightened due diligence when exporting to Pakistan (the “Pakistan Guidance”). The Pakistan Guidance specifically focuses on (i) supplemental licensing requirements applicable for items (e.g. goods, software, or technology) subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) that may be destined to nuclear or missile activities, and (ii) best practices for screening customers in Pakistan to prevent diversion of items subject to the EAR to unauthorized end uses and end users.

BIS published the Pakistan Guidance in an effort to bring attention to compliance risks related exports/reexports to Pakistan after investigations by the BIS Office of Export Enforcement “revealed schemes” by Pakistani entities attempting to acquire items subject to the EAR for entities listed on the Entity List. The Pakistan Guidelines appear to reflect an enforcement focus on Pakistan from BIS, so companies exporting/reexporting items subject to the EAR to Pakistan should take into account these BIS recommendations to ensure compliance.

Key takeaways from the Pakistan Guidance are found below: