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Sanctions: Brainteasers With Serious Consequences

By: Davina Given*

Failure to comply with financial sanctions carries serious penalties, most notably in the US, where banks have collectively paid billions of dollars in fines.  Even in the UK, a failure to comply with sanctions carries the potential for unlimited criminal and regulatory fines and/or imprisonment.  Yet financial sanctions are often difficult for most businesses to grapple with, particularly if they do not have the resources of the very largest businesses.  Political imperatives may lead to the imposition of financial sanctions in respect of existing, longstanding business.  Individual targets may change quickly and abruptly, with little fanfare.  Different countries involved in a transaction may apply slightly different financial sanctions, so that the transaction may be legal in one country but illegal in another.  Yet on top of those issues, there is a further legal difficulty: what does any particular financial sanction actually prevent? (more…)

Primer on agencies that enforce US sanctions: The Department of Homeland Security

September 18, 2016
By Anna Sayre, Legal Content Writer, SanctionsAlert.com

The US has one of the most complex national systems of sanctions enforcement in the world. This system derives from the number of agencies that are empowered to initiate actions against violators of US sanctions. Because each US agency maintains a different “Do Not Touch” list, organizations and individuals on the various lists may differ. Furthermore, the regulations issued by these various agencies often have areas of overlap. It is not uncommon for three or four US agencies to take action jointly, thus exposing a business to multiple investigations and varying penalties. (more…)

Primer on agencies that enforce US sanctions: Department of Justice

September 12, 2016
By Anna Sayre, Legal Content Writer SanctionsAlert.com

The US has one of the most complex national systems of sanctions enforcement in the world. This system derives from the number of agencies that are empowered to initiate actions against violators of US sanctions. Because each US agency maintains a different “Do Not Touch” list, the restrictions that apply based on inclusion on the various lists may differ. Furthermore, the regulations issued by these various agencies often have areas of overlap.  It is not uncommon for three or four US agencies to take action jointly, thus exposing a business to multiple investigations and varying penalties. (more…)

Primer on agencies that enforce US sanctions: Department of State

September 7, 2016
By: Anna Sayre, Legal Content Writer SanctionsAlert.com

The US has one of the most complex national systems of sanctions enforcement in the world. This system derives from the number of agencies that are empowered to initiate actions against violators of US sanctions. Because each US agency maintains a different “Do Not Touch” list, organizations and individuals on the various lists may overlap. It is not uncommon for three or four US agencies to take action jointly, thus exposing a business to multiple investigations and varying penalties. (more…)

The SEC’s Office of Global Security Risk adds an extra layer of teeth against sanctions violations

Date: September 1, 2016
By: Anna Sayre, Legal Content Writer, SanctionsAlert.com

 The global risk environment has changed dramatically in recent times, and continues to change almost daily as we learn of new or possible global threats of terrorist activity. The regulator of the securities industry, the US Securities and Exchange Commission ((SEC) plays an important role to protect against a possible terrorist attack. The SEC’s Office of Global Security Risk (OGSR), in operation since 2005, provides an extra layer of protection against such risks by monitoring disclosures related to business activities involving US sanctioned countries, as well as prompting further information regarding those disclosures (or lack thereof) from companies in the US and abroad.

(more…)

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