Archives: International Trade & National Security

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Iran: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed, but no immediate sanctions relief

On 24 November 2013, the P5+1 countries (comprising the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany) together with Iran, agreed the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which relaxed some of the sanctions imposed against Iran by the EU and U.S. The JPOA was intended to provide interim sanctions relief, while the parties worked … Continue Reading

Iran: Further extension of limited sanctions relief to 13 July 2015

In our alert of 8 July, we reported that the P5+1 and Iran had announced the extension of the Joint Plan of Action Relief Period (the JPOA Relief Period) to today, 10 July 2015. Negotiations with Iran continue. To allow more time for the parties involved to reach a long-term solution, the JPOA Relief Period … Continue Reading

Small Local Bank Agrees to $4.5 Million Penalty for Ineffective Anti-Money Laundering Program and Structured Transactions

On June 15, multiple federal agencies issued a $4.5 million penalty against a local bank that admitted to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. The coordinated enforcement action by multiple agencies and substantial monetary penalty illustrates the significant risks for anti-money laundering compliance for local financial institutions. The coordinated action was announced by … Continue Reading

FinCEN Imposes Largest-Ever Penalty Against a Casino

On June 3, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a $75 million penalty against a Northern Mariana Islands casino for Bank Secrecy Act violations – the largest-ever FinCEN penalty assessed against a casino. FinCEN’s announcement follows an investigation of the casino, Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments, Ltd., d/b/a Tinian Dynasty Hotel & … Continue Reading

Congress Revives the Generalized System of Preferences and Makes Benefits Retroactive to August 1, 2013 but Requires Affirmative Applications for Refund by U.S. Importers.

Amid the often rancorous debate on the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Trade Promotion Authority enabling legislation, both the House and the Senate last week found a common ground in addressing legislation related to the international movement of goods and passed the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (The Act), reviving the Generalized System of … Continue Reading

FinCEN and ICE Issue Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) Against Miami-Area Electronics Exporters

On April 21, 2015, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) served a Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) on about 700 electronics exporter businesses in the Miami area as part of an investigation into cash transactions possibly tied to trade-based money-laundering schemes utilized by drug cartels. The GTO goes into effect April 28, 2015 and … Continue Reading

Schlumberger Faces More Than $232.7 Million in Penalties and Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges for Violations of U.S. Sanctions

On March 25, 2015, Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings, Ltd. (“SOHL”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Schlumberger Ltd., the world’s largest oil-field services company (collectively “Schlumberger”), agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges, enter into a plea agreement, and pay $232.7 million in penalties for willfully facilitating illegal transactions and engaging in trade with Iran and Sudan. … Continue Reading

Continuation of Russian Sanctions

Since March 2014, Reed Smith has been closely monitoring developments relating to the situation in the Ukraine and reporting them as Client Alerts and blog updates. We have set out below a brief summary of the EU’s decision of 20 March 2015 to effectively leave in place the sanctions imposed last year against Russia. Click … Continue Reading

Inadequate Screening Processes Result in $7.65 Million Settlement for Violations of Various U.S. Sanctions Programs

On March 25, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and PayPal, Inc. (“PayPal”) agreed to a $7.65 million settlement to settle potential civil liability for 486 apparent violations of various financial sanctions. Between 2009 and 2013, PayPal, a digital payments processor, apparently processed hundreds of transactions in violation … Continue Reading

Bank Settles Criminal Bank Secrecy Act and Civil Fraud Charges Arising from Its Inadequate Anti-Money Laundering Program

On March 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced a $4.9 million settlement of criminal and civil charges against CommerceWest Bank (“CommerceWest” or the “Bank”) brought pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (“FIRREA”), and the Fraud Injunction Statute. The government alleged that, between December … Continue Reading

New Authorizations to Export Personal Communications Items and Services to Sudan

On February 18, 2015 the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) published changes to the Export Administration Regulation (“EAR”) and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”) in order to advance the free flow of information and facilitate communications by the Sudanese people. OFAC’s changes are … Continue Reading

BIS Addresses ‘Commingling’ in Crude Oil Exports

On December 30, 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued its first-ever published guidance on the Short Supply Controls, the regulations that limit the export of crude oil out of the United States. The guidance, provided in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”), is of particular interest to … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Treasury Imposes Sanctions Against the Government of The Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea

In response to recent cyber-attacks, President Obama signed an Executive Order January 2, 2015, imposing additional economic sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Executive Order authorizes the Treasury to apply sanctions against officials and entities associated with North Korea’s government and the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea. Click here for the issued … Continue Reading

BIS Issues First Published Guidance on the Short Supply Controls

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued the first-ever published guidance on the Short Supply Controls, the regulations that limit the export of crude oil out of the United States. The guidance, provided in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”), sheds light on a number of issues, including … Continue Reading

Sanctions Update: the U.S. and the EU impose further measures against Russia

This post was also written by Siân Fellows, David Myers, Alexandra E. Allan, Alexandra Gordon, Tom C. Evans This alert follows our previous alerts on the Russia/Ukraine sanctions. U.S. Passes New Sanctions Authorizing Statute – Sends Russia Frigid End of Year Message President Obama: U.S. will “review and calibrate” sanctions in response to Russia’s actions On December … Continue Reading

Normalizing U.S. Relations with Cuba: What is ahead?

On December 17, President Obama announced that he will take steps to normalize relations with Cuba, prompting questions about what this means for an island nation that has existed under a Cold War-era embargo for more than 50 years. The announcement indicates a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba, affecting not only diplomatic … Continue Reading

The Joint Plan of Action: A Recap of the Easing Of Sanctions Against Iran By The United States And European Union

This post was also written by Siân Fellows, David Myers, Alexandra E. Allan, Alexandra Gordon, Laith Najjar, Tom C. Evans On 24 November 2013, an agreement was reached between the E3+3 (also known as the P5+1, and which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) and Iran. This agreement, known as the … Continue Reading

Iran: limited sanctions relief extended to 30 June 2015

This post was also written by Siân Fellows, Alexandra E. Allan, Alexandra Gordon, and  David Myers. In January 2014, both the EU and U.S. brought into force measures which temporarily suspended and relaxed (for an initial period of six months) some of the sanctions in place against Iran. This reflected the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) agreed … Continue Reading

Condensate Exports Raise Compliance Questions for Purchasers

Recent press reports covering the sale and export of lightly processed condensate from the Eagle Ford Shale have characterized such transactions as a major test to the four-decade-long ban on crude oil exports, and a sign that the ban is crumbling. They are not exactly that. However, as condensate exports become more common, they will … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Holds Employee Directly Liable for Penalties and Duties Related to Negligently Declared Goods – What are the Implications?

On September 16, 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit published its long-awaited decision in United States v. Trek Leather Inc., and its opinion may have created an unintended level of concern among compliance professionals and import departments. Trek Leather is an importer of men’s suits. Its business plan called for the importer … Continue Reading

Further U.S. Sanctions Target Russia’s Energy, Defense and Financial Sectors

As the United States and Russia continue to clash over Russia’s actions in the Ukraine, on September 12, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) issued additional sanctions further restricting designated Russian financial institutions’ access to capital markets, targeting Russian defense entities, and prohibiting exports to Russian entities that have been specifically … Continue Reading

OFAC REVISES SDN OWNERSHIP GUIDANCE

On August 13, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) revised its guidance on the status of entities owned by persons designated on the Specially Designated Nationals List (“SDN List”).  Under the new guidance, OFAC will consider an entity to be blocked if it is 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, in … Continue Reading

U.S. Expands Export Restrictions Targeting Russia’s Oil and Gas Production

Effective August 6, 2014, the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) issued new regulations, identified as the “Russian Industry Sector Sanctions,” restricting exports and other transfers of certain items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) that may benefit Russia’s energy sector.  Newly added EAR section 746.5 imposes licensing requirements … Continue Reading

Foreign Investment in the United States: D.C. Circuit Reversal Could Lead to Increased Transparency for CFIUS

On July 15, the D.C. Circuit held that a presidential order requiring Ralls Corporation to divest its interests in Oregon windfarms because of national security concerns deprived Ralls of its constitutionally protected property interests without due process of law.  In doing so, the D.C. Circuit reversed a district court decision that had emphasized the president’s … Continue Reading
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