International Regulatory Enforcement

Humanitarian Aid to Iran Under Existing Sanctions–An Important Reminder in a Time of Pandemic
As of April 16, 2020, Iran’s government had confirmed over 77,000 cases of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and over 4,800 deaths, with a report by the Iranian parliament estimating there may be up to 8 to 10 times more cases that are unconfirmed. Iranian officials have attacked U.S. sanctions for hindering Iran’s ability to import sufficient medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment. In light of the pandemic, there have been increasingly frequent calls to ease the impact of sanctions on Iran by members of international organizations and domestic politicians, including most recently from Democratic Presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
U.S. Increases Sanctions on Iran as Tensions Escalate
On Friday, January 10, the Trump Administration increased the stakes for non-U.S. companies seeking to do business with Iran, as tensions between the two countries escalate.
Sanctions Compliance Shortfalls Result in $1B Global Enforcement Action
On April 9, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the New York Department of Financial Service (“NYDFS”), the New York County District Attorney’s Office, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) in the U.K. announced separate settlements with Standard Chartered Bank (“SCB”), a U.K. multinational bank, resulting in an aggregate of over US$1 billion in fines to resolve potential liability arising from transactions that were processed to or through the United States in violation of Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Burma sanctions. This global enforcement action and major settlement targeting alleged violations of U.S. sanctions by a non-U.S. financial institution is the latest example of the increasing cooperation among enforcement authorities in and outside the United States focusing on alleged financial crimes by multinational corporations.
The EU is Launching "INSTEX" to Support Trade with Iran Despite U.S. Sanctions
France, Germany and the United Kingdom—backed by the EU Commission—announced the creation of INSTEX SAS (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges), a Special Purpose Vehicle aimed at facilitating trade between EU companies and Iran, in the attempt to prevent the effects of the snap back of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran.
The Blocking of Digital Currency: A New Phase of Sanctions Enforcement
On November 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC") for the first time published the digital currency addresses associated with specific individuals subject to sanctions. OFAC, the primary agency in charge of administering U.S. economic sanctions programs, has the authority to block property of persons involved in “malicious cyber-enabled activities" originating from outside of the United States and who constitute a threat to national security or the financial stability of the United States. It now has used that authority in a new way: blocking specific digital currency addresses associated with two persons who assisted in a cyberattack.
The EU Commission Aims Its “Blocking Statute” at Renewed U.S. Sanctions Against Iran
As one reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, the EU Commission will reactivate the "Blocking Statute" against the effects of the extra-territorial application of U.S. secondary sanctions. EU companies may be caught in the crossfire that is arising from the EU/U.S. conflicting approaches on Iran.
President Trump Withdraws From Iran Deal - Six Key Takeaways
On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. President Trump's unilateral decision to withdrawal from the agreement puts the fate of the JCPOA in jeopardy. The impact on U.S. foreign policy will be profound, but, more immediately, the President's decision triggers an end to U.S. sanctions relief under the JCPOA and re-imposes many sanctions prior to January 2016. The implications are far reaching. We identify six key takeaways for U.S. and global businesses.