On November 6, 2023, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry Security (“BIS”) and the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published a joint notice (“Joint Notice”) to announce  a new Suspicious Activity Report (“SAR”) key term for financial institutions when reporting possible attempts by entities or individuals to evade US export controls. This builds on similar efforts by BIS and FinCEN to require SARs for transactions related to transactions that may be involved in evasion of export controls targeting Russia. Continued cooperation between BIS and FinCEN on these types of efforts underscores the expectation of the US Government that financial institutions leverage their sophisticated compliance programs to detect potential non-compliance with export controls.

According to the Joint Notice, financial institutions should use the new key term (“FIN-2023-GLOBALEXPORT”) in SARs to flag transactions that may involve evasion of US export controls, not just those targeting Russia. BIS and FinCEN are still advising financial institutions to continue using the key term (“FIN-2022-RUSSIABIS“) when filing SARs related to potential Russian export control evasion. The agencies previously issued joint alerts in June 2022 and May 2023 about the Russia-focused changes to SAR reporting and Russian evasion activities; our blog posts about these past joint alerts are available here and here. BIS utilizes SARs to uncover violations of US export control regulations.

The Joint Notice highlights the crucial role of financial institutions in adopting a risk-based approach to trade transactions and maintaining vigilance against global attempts to circumvent export controls. This notice includes a list of red flag indicators of export control evasion, particularly those involving advanced and critical technologies, which can also be applied by exporters during due diligence efforts.

In conjunction with the Joint Notice, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod stated, “disrupting the diversion of critical U.S. technologies to nation-state adversaries and malign actors around the globe is our highest priority. This powerful new SAR key term will enable even more BIS investigative and Entity List actions against global threats.”

In the same statement, FinCEN Director Andrea Gacki said, “the purposeful evasion of U.S. export controls, regardless of where it occurs or the adversary it supports, is a serious national security issue. FinCEN is proud to partner with BIS in issuing this Notice and providing financial institutions with a new key term which they can use to file suspicious activity reports when they suspect such activity.”

The authors acknowledge the assistance of Vanessa Keverenge with the preparation of this blog post.


Terry Gilroy is a partner in the New York office of Baker McKenzie and a member of the Investigations Compliance and Ethics Practice Group. Prior to joining the Firm in 2018, Terry served as Americas Head of the Financial Crime Legal function at Barclays. Terry advises businesses and individuals on white collar and financial crime issues and has significant experience conducting investigations relating to compliance with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and related bribery and corruption statutes, economic sanctions regulations as administered by the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the Bank Secrecy Act and related anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and statutes. Terry spent six years on active duty in the United States Army as a Field Artillery officer.


Alex advises clients on compliance with US export controls, trade and economic sanctions, export controls (Export Administration Regulations (EAR); International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)) and antiboycott controls. He counsels on and prepares filings to submit to the US Government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) with respect to the acquisition of US enterprises by non-US interests. Moreover, Alex advises US and non-US companies in the context of licensing, enforcement actions, internal investigations, compliance audits, mergers and acquisitions and other cross-border transactions, and the design, implementation, and administration of compliance programs. He has negotiated enforcement settlements related to both US sanctions and the EAR.