Archive for the ‘Burma/Myanmar’ Category

Commerzbank to Pay $258,660,796 for Violating Multiple Sanctions Programs

2015/03/30

By: Brooke Driver

Commerzbank AG recently agreed to settle with OFAC regarding its 1,596 apparent violations of multiple U.S. sanctions programs, including the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, the June 28, 2005 Executive Order 13382, “Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters,” the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, the Burmese Sanctions Regulations and the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.

The bank’s massive $258,660,796 fine reflects the number and enormity of the apparent violations, as does the large scale of its case, with collaboration between OFAC, the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Department of Financial Services of the State of New York.


OFAC Revises Burmese Sanctions to Reflect Executive Orders

2014/08/28

By: Brooke Driver

As of June 27, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control has altered and reissued the Burmese Sanctions Regulations to reflect the following executive orders:

  • EO 13448, which blocks (with some exceptions) all property and interests in property of specified persons as well as those determined to meet the indicated criteria
  • EO 13464, which blocks all property and interests in property of specified persons as well as those determined to meet the indicated criteria
  • EO 13619, which blocks all property and interests in property of persons determined to meet the specified criteria

EO 13651, which revokes EO 13310 implementing the broad ban on the importation of products of Burma, reinstated the prohibition on imports of any jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from Burma and any articles of jewelry containing such gems and waived the blocking and financial sanctions on certain categories of persons described in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts Act of 2008


BNPP Pays Nearly $9 Billion for Repeated Sanctions Violations

2014/08/28

By: Brooke Driver

The French bank BNP Paribas SA has agreed to pay $8.97 billion for its (get ready for this number) 3,897 apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Burmese Sanction Regulations, a record breaking penalty for American sanctions violations. The enormity and global nature of the case prompted collaboration between OFAC, the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Department of Financial Services of the State of New York in the process of investigating BNPP’s violations and arriving at an appropriate consequence.

For a number of years prior to and including 2012, BNPP processed—and concealed—thousands of transactions to or through U.S. financial institutions involving parties subject to the aforementioned sanctions programs. In executing these illegal transactions, BNPP concealed, removed, omitted or obscured references to the sanctioned parties in related paperwork.

Specifically, between the dates of September 6, 2005 and July 24, 2009, BNPP processed 2,663 wire transfers totaling approximately $8,370,372,624 involving Sudanese entities, 318 wire transfers with a total value of $1,182,075,543 involving Iranian entities between July 15, 2005 and November 27, 2012, seven wire transfers for Burmese parties (totaling $1,478,371) between November 3, 2005 and sometime in May 2009 and 909 Cuba-related wire transfers between July 18, 2005 and September 10, 2012 with a total value of $689,237,183. The severity of the fine and year-long ban from conducting certain U.S. dollar transactions is a clear message to other financial institutions that might not take U.S. sanctions seriously.

OFAC claims that the settlement amount reflects the following factors:

  • BNPP had knowledge that its conduct might have violated U.S. law
  • At least one member of BNPP senior management and multiple supervisors  were aware of the company’s illegal conduct
  • The violations are numerous and span many years
  • The illegal transactions were large monetary transfers
  • BNPP had not received a violation notice in the five years leading up to the settlement
  • BNPP cooperated with OFAC’s investigation
  • BNPP has taken remedial action to prevent further U.S. sanctions violations

Canada Implements Export and Financial Sanctions on Burma

2008/01/29

2008/01/29

By: Danielle McClellan

Canada has released the implementation to the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations applying sanctions against Burma.

The main measures taken by Canada prohibit:

  1. The export from Canada to Burma of any goods, excepting only the export of humanitarian goods
  2. The export of technical data
  3. The provision of financial services to Burma

Canada implemented the new sanctions in light of resolutions by both the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly who condemned the human right violations in Burma at this time.

More information:

dfait-maeci.gc.ca/trade/eicb/notices/Ser155-en.asp


Update on Canada’s Trade Sanctions Against Burma (and More)

2007/12/14

2007/12/14

On December 14, 2007, Minister Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that Canada’s economic sanctions against Burma entered into force on December 13, 2007. (more…)


OFAC Blocks More Burmese Officials

2007/10/19

2007/10/19

By: Danielle McClellan

More Burmese officials have been added to the Specially Designated Nationals list, 23 to be exact, blocking them from any U.S. contact. The list consists of Burmese persons that the US Government has determined have participated in “human rights abuses,” have been engaged in “activities that facilitate public corruption,” have “materially” supported the Government of Burma. The list also includes persons that are “owned or controlled by any blocked person. In fact, even the “spouse or child of” any person who is blocked can be listed too.

President Bush is not backing down either (hmm, that’s a surprise, President Bush isn’t backing down). “So, along the lines in Burma, we have sanctioned individuals within Burma and are considering additional sanctions,” President Bush explained in an interview on the subject. He also made a point of explaining, “[but] sanctions don’t mean anything if we’re the only sanctioner.” Bush made sure as to not give any clues about what is in store for the Burmese Sanctions, possibly there will be even more additions to the Specially Designated Nationals list, or even more bans on exports to Burma; it is hard to tell at this point.

More information available at:

Recent OFAC Actions

Recent OFAC Actions (2)

Executive Order from White House


US Announces It Will Tighten Sanctions on Burma

2007/09/25

2007/09/25

By: Danielle McClellan

The Bad Guys Can’t Visit the US

On September 25, 2007, President Bush spoke out about his outrage at the continued oppression of the people of Burma at the United Nations. He urged the United Nations and all nations to use both their economic and diplomatic leverage to help the Burmese people become free once again. Many people in Burmese have been arrested for peacefully expressing their views in opposition to the oppressive military junta.

President Bush announced that he will tighten the economic sanctions against Burma, since the issuance of Executive Order 10347 and the enactment of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act in 2003 the United States has been participating in an ongoing battle to keep the people of Burma free. With the newly tightened rules, members of the regime who are responsible for violations of human rights and for delaying Burma’s transition to democracy will be unable to get visas to the United States. The visa ban will also include any persons who benefit from the regime’s abuse.

Bush has also announced that the United States will review all existing policies regarding Burma and do all they can to help with humanitarian groups. Humanitarian groups are focusing on the issues of health and education in Burma at this time.

More information:

White House Fact Sheet


OFAC Makes Common Sense Adjustment to US Trade Embargoes

2007/08/30

2007/08/30

By: John Black

In the August 30, 2007 Federal Register, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made several amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, Burmese Sanctions Regulations, Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, and Iranian Transactions Regulations to extend the general licensing to cover services in connection with written publications. A key element of the amendments applies to electronic publications that are already exempt from OFAC jurisdiction. The amendments extend the exemption for informational materials to also apply to embedded software that is embedded in the informational materials and used to search, view or read the electronic publications.


Revamped Burmese Sanctions Regulations

2005/09/18

2005/09/18

By: Scott Gearity

On August 16, the Office of Foreign Assets Control reissued a thoroughly revised version of the Burmese Sanctions Regulations. OFAC says the extensive rewrite was needed in order to implement the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. One of the major provisions of the BFDA was to institute a ban on imports from Burma, a measure which remains in effect through today.

The revamped regulations do provide some important (and rather elementary) definitions, such as “exportation or reexportation of financial services to Burma” and “product of Burma”. They also codify a number of exemptions, including some for US citizens and diplomats in Burma and for certain humanitarian and publishing activities, some of which were previously permitted only under general licenses. It is also worth reminding our readers that OFAC’s sanctions on Burma remain somewhat less comprehensive than those applied to Cuba or Iran. For example, while imports and exports of financial services are generally banned, exports of goods and non-financial services are permitted, though exporters should proceed carefully to avoid transactions involving blocked property and the ban on new investment by US persons.


US Sanctions on Imports from Burma Hit US Exporters

2003/08/30

2003/08/30

By: John Black

So, you read the new Burma sanctions with interest and breathed a sigh of relief when you did not see any new restrictions on exports to Burma.  Before you conclude you don’t need to make any changes to your export compliance procedures, consider this:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  The sanctions on Burma prohibit imports from Burma, which includes any products being sent from Burma to the United States for service, repair or replacement.

Yep, that’s right.  If somebody in Burma sends your 100% US-origin product to you for service, you are going to have a major problem, unless you have a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control for the import from Burma.  So, you do have to implement some compliance procedures after all.

(more…)