The US government has been making headlines with the imposition of eye-popping economic sanctions penalties. Although the economic sanctions administered by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have been around since the Korean War, it is only in recent years that the penalties under these laws have grown large enough to capture the attention of multinational corporations in a serious way. The imposition of an $8.9bn penalty on BNP Paribas, along with other penalties that exceeded $100m against other multinational corporations, has definitely captured the attention of compliance officers and general counsel at multinational corporations all over the world. This article provides an overview of the types of compliance steps that companies which operate internationally, or that sell or export around the world, should consider.

Full risk elimination is not possible, particularly in light of the aggressive enforcement of US economic sanctions abroad. Nonetheless, through a careful risk-assessment process and careful implementation of a risk-based compliance system, companies that operate internationally can substantially mitigate the risk posed by the OFAC regulations.

Jan-Mar 2015 Issue

Foley & Lardner LLP