Administered by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. sanctions laws govern whether international transactions may occur. OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. Violations of OFAC-administered sanctions carry hefty civil and criminal penalties.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to be proactive about your sanctions compliance. To ensure compliance with OFAC regulations, businesses should develop and maintain a sanctions compliance plan that is thoughtful, proactive, and well-executed. While having a sanctions compliance plan is not a guarantee that a sanctions violation will not occur, a coherent sanctions compliance program can minimize the risk of non-compliance.
Diaz Trade Law’s OFAC-related services include:
A key foundation of proactive and effective sanctions compliance requires the development of a sanctions compliance plan which establishes a set of procedures for your organization to ensure that everyone is on the same page about how standard processes work, who is responsible for what, how to identify violations, what to do when violations occur, etc. A sanctions compliance plan helps build consciousness in your organization that compliance is critical – both to avoid costly penalties and also to protect national security. Diaz Trade Law helps businesses create sanctions compliance manuals that help prove you have a process in place to vet proposed transactions and ensure you can prove you can take compliance seriously and implement all of the important great weight mitigating factors. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience in developing and enhancing sanctions compliance plans for organizations. Additionally, Diaz Trade Law can assist your business in auditing and improving your current plan so that it is in its best shape.
A foundation of a strong sanctions compliance program is sanctions compliance training. Training is important because it (1) ensures that all employees understand the sanctions regulations and reinforces internal policies and procedures, (2) demonstrates to federal government agencies that your business is proactive about sanctions compliance, and (3) avoids your business from being subject to costly penalties and even criminal liability. Fortunately, sanctions compliance training can be highly tailored to meet your company’s needs. All of your training events include assessments for comprehension, certificates for successful participation, and ample opportunities for Q&A. For your next sanctions compliance training event, trust Diaz Trade Law to provide highly-effective, engaging training.
Unsure whether a proposed transaction violates OFAC sanctions? Diaz Trade Law has significant experience vetting your potential transaction against U.S. sanctions laws. Through research and due diligence, Diaz Trade Law ensures that your transaction won’t get you in trouble later down the road.
If your business believes it may have violated OFAC sanctions, it can be in your business’ strategic interest to submit a voluntary self-disclosure (VSD). OFAC encourages anyone who may have violated OFAC-administered regulations to disclose the apparent violation to OFAC voluntarily. Voluntary self-disclosure to OFAC is considered a mitigating factor by OFAC in enforcement actions, and pursuant to OFAC’s Enforcement Guidelines, will result in a reduction in the base amount of any proposed civil penalty. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience filing VSDs and mitigating penalties.
A specific license is an authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited. Businesses apply for OFAC specific licenses to generally authorize transactions, release blocked funds, and permit travel to Cuba, for example.. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience submitting specific license applications and receiving authorization for proposed transactions on behalf of our clients.
If your business has violated U.S. sanctions laws, there is a lot you can do to mitigate penalties and prevent future violations. Diaz Trade Law has significant experience representing businesses in dealing with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Specifically, Diaz Trade Law has successfully assisted clients in (1) submitting voluntary self-disclosures to mitigate penalties, (2) negotiated agreements with OFAC, and (3) built corrective action systems to help ensure that your business does not make the same violation again.
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