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 September 30, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) amended two Venezuela-related general licenses (“GLs”), re-issued as General License 3G (“GL 3G”) and General License 9F (“GL 9F”), to extend the authorization for dealings in certain bonds and other securities, as further outlined below. Our blog post regarding previous amendments to these GLs is available here.
On September 9, 2019, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued Executive Order 13886 (“EO 13886”), expanding the US counter-terrorism sanctions program by amending Executive Order 13224 (“EO 13224”), which dates to the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. OFAC also designated 28 individuals and entities as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (“SDGTs”) under this new authority and updated various other entries on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List to reflect sanction of those authorities under the same authority. In addition, as described in statements here and here, the State Department implemented the new authority by designating Hurras al-Din, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria, and 12 leaders of SDGT groups (all of which were designated by OFAC on the same day).