by Jeremy Paner
Settlement announcements from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) generally reflect the agency’s enforcement prioritization and sanctions compliance expectations. The two most recent enforcement actions indicate that OFAC continues to target companies that operate without sanctions compliance programs. Although robust sanctions compliance programs do not provide complete inoculation from sanctions compliance risk, such programs dramatically reduce the likelihood of violations and resulting civil penalties.
OFAC Civil Penalties Against Exporters Lacking Compliance Programs
On June 23, OFAC announced a $107,691 settlement with HyperBranch Medical Technology, Inc. to resolve apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) prohibition on the direct or indirect exportation of goods to Iran. According to the settlement announcement, HyperBranch exported about 4,000 units of various medical supplies to its United Arab Emirates-based distributor that it knew or had reason to know were ultimately destined for Iran. OFAC considered HyperBranch’s lack of a sanctions compliance program at the time of the apparent violations as an aggravating factor in the calculation of the civil penalty.