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.
In the News
Carol Van Cleef was quoted in Money Laundering Bulletin on the dynamic compliance frontline of sanctions enforcement.Money Laundering Bulletin, February 19, 2024
The National Black Lawyers is an invitation-only professional development and networking association comprised of the top African American attorneys from across the country.January 2024
Tom Malinowski, two-term representative for New Jersey's 7th Congressional District and former vice chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is moving to an international litigation boutique to serve as senior policy consultant.Law360, July 12, 2023
In Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S. v. U.S., the Supreme Court held that the FSIA did not provide immunity to a Turkish state-owned bank, Halkbank, for criminal charges, and that the bank could be prosecuted for evading U.S.-imposed economic sanctions against Iran.Law360, June 30, 2023
The United States Supreme Court decided for the first time that foreign sovereigns and foreign-owned entities are subject to criminal prosecution in United States courts, rejecting the contentions of a Turkish state-owned bank that it was immune from prosecution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”).April 20, 2023
On March 2, 2023, the US government published a multi-agency notice setting forth red flags and warning of enhanced enforcement efforts related to third-party intermediary evasion of US Russia-related sanctions and export controls. The Financial Times subsequently reported that a senior Treasury official stated that the UAE was a “country of focus” for US investigators.March 2023
Tim Taylor KC, former head of international arbitration in Dubai at King & Wood Mallesons, has joined the partnership at US disputes boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss – but will continue to be based in the Middle East.Global Arbitration Review, March 8, 2023
- The high profile King's Counsel has plied his trade in both the UK and the Middle East.
Disputes veteran Tim Taylor joins litigation boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss (LBKM) and will reside in Doha and Dubai, further expanding the firm’s footprint in the Middle East.Law.com International, February 23, 2023
Tim Taylor KC comes on as a partner and will be based in Doha, Qatar, and Dubai, Lewis Baach said Wednesday. He has known his new firm's chair and co-founder, Eric Lewis, for several decades.Law360, February 17, 2023
- Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss Adds Respected International Dispute Resolution Partner to Expanding Middle East PracticeTim Taylor KC joins LBKM as partner in the Middle East, further expanding the firm’s robust offerings in the region
Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss (LBKM), a globally-recognized international litigation boutique, has added international arbitration and dispute resolution leader, Tim Taylor KC, as a partner. Mr. Taylor will reside in Doha and Dubai, further expanding the firm’s growing footprint in the Middle East.February 2023
The Lafarge case illustrates the extent companies with operations in high-risk jurisdictions must be aware of increasing ATA-related risk, including the risk of civil litigation.November 2022
OFAC, banking regulators and criminal enforcement authorities agree: there are big cases to be made in the crypto space. The latest example is OFAC’s October 2022 sanctions enforcement action against crypto-trading platform Bittrex, Inc.October 19, 2022
Non-US insurers with exposures to Iran-related business face a difficult six months to bring their business into compliance with US president Donald Trump’s newly reinstated snap-back sanctionsInsurance Day, May 17, 2018
- KYC360, May 3, 2016
- Changes to Iran and Cuba restrictions make business simplier for UK and European insurersInsurance Day, April 21, 2016
- “Now What” – An Article that Answers the Question, "After Sanctions Are Lifted, How Do I Get My Money Back?
Mr. Francos is a contributing author.KYC360, April 4, 2016
- "A Cautionary Tale for Non-U.S. Private Equity: Exposure to the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Sanctions,” Private Fund Dispute ResolutionPrivate Equity International (PEI), December 2014
- Expansion of U.S. Economic Sanctions Poses New Risks for InsurersInsurance Day, December 2014
- Expansion of US Economic Sanctions May Present Risks for Non-US InsurersInsurance Day, April 18, 2013
- Sanctions Settlements Prompt Changes to Transaction MonitoringACAMS moneylaundering.com, March 5, 2013
Publications, Presentations & Events
- London International Disputes Week
Partner Tara Plochocki will be speaking on "The evolving impact of sanctions on commercial contracts" as part of London International Disputes Week.Withers LLP, 20 Old Bailey, London, May 18, 2023
- 25th Annual Transnational Crime Conference
Partner Cristián Francos will co-chair a session on trends in global sanctions enforcement at the International Bar Association's 25th Annual Transnational Crime Conference.Boston, MA, May 4, 2023
- Grand Cayman, March 13, 2023
- May 2018
Eric Lewis focuses on three key areas: (1) the widening of the net from sanctioned individuals to their families; (2) the application of the evasion provisions to foreign persons; (3) the bringing of new classes within existing sanctions.The New York Law Journal, December 8, 2017
- December 10, 2015
- June 27, 2014
- July 3, 2013
- New Enhanced Iran Sanctions Take EffectJune 28, 2012
- U.S. Cracks Down on Foreign Evaders of Iran-Syria SanctionMay 24, 2012