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US Sanctions

LBKM has worked successfully on behalf of numerous persons and entities in the United States and throughout the world on a variety of sanctions issues, including advising multinational companies on sanctions compliance, obtaining the release of blocked funds from US banks, and convincing the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to remove sanctions on designated individuals. We have worked with semi-governmental bodies, NGOs, banks, corporations, political parties, corporate and bank officials, and high-level politically exposed persons to resolve all manner of sanctions issues.  Over the past ten years, our attorneys have handled scores of OFAC matters of every type for a host of clients hailing from the Middle East, Russia, South America, and Europe.  

We have deep expertise in this area from the public sector experience of former prosecutors who investigated and prosecuted OFAC matters, compliance officials who can guide companies through OFAC compliance, and skilled regulatory and administrative lawyers who can petition OFAC and fight to remove designations.  As a senior prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Adam Kaufmann supervised the criminal investigations of over a dozen global banks for conducting financial transactions on behalf of designated entities in Iran, Sudan, Cuba, and elsewhere.  These cases involved close coordination with OFAC and resulted in fines and financial penalties in the billions of dollars.  Arthur Middlemiss, also a former senior Manhattan white-collar crime prosecutor, worked as head of a financial crimes compliance group at a global bank following his experience in law enforcement.  As such, he has first-hand insight into how global financial institutions deal with sanctions issues, and regularly advises global companies on how to ensure they do not inadvertently violate sanctions.  Other partners in the firm have extensive experience representing sanctioned individuals before OFAC and in bringing administrative law proceedings to challenge OFAC actions. 

Over the years, our partners have represented sanctioned clients from the Middle East, Russia, Europe, and Latin America, including individuals, companies, and financial institutions in high-stakes OFAC matters. In one noteworthy case we relied upon our deep well of Middle East expertise to successfully petition OFAC to remove an Islamic charity alleged to have ties to terrorism from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list following extensive administrative proceeding and negotiation.  We have also engaged with OFAC and other US agencies on a proactive basis to prevent the designation of clients who had reason to believe they had been targeted for inclusion on the OFAC list.

For companies that are not designated but are engaged in global business involving US dollar payments, letters of credit, insurance, or export-controlled goods, OFAC regulations present an array of issues that must be considered from multiple perspectives: legal, economic, intelligence, and political. OFAC sanctions are an ever-shifting field of regulatory enforcement and clients must stay aware of constant changes in the scope and coverage of US sanctions, as well as the political themes that determine where OFAC is focusing attention.  Often, clients do not realize where their exposure may lie, and by looking at the entirety of a client’s business model, from supply chain to financing to end user, we can help identify and address potential problems before they explode.

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