Sanctions law is becoming increasingly more relevant to conducting international business. It is critical to have competent counsel when conducting transactions involving countries under U.S. economic sanctions, such as Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea or Cuba. Rahbaran & Associates regularly advises private individuals and multinational corporations alike who are struggling to understand the ever-changing provisions of U.S. sanctions law. Multinational corporations, in particular, are now faced with new challenges set forth by the recent provisions under Section 219 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act that went into effect on February 6, 2013. U.S. companies are now burdened with the task of vetting all transactions internally and externally for links with entities in Iran.
OFAC and Sanctions Practice
Rahbaran & Associates has extensive experience with integrated sanctions and immigration services having advised high net worth individuals divesting assets from countries under sanctions for the purposes of transferring funds to the U.S. Our team works diligently to ensure clients engaging in international transactions involving sanctioned countries are compliant with the most recent sanctions laws and regulations. Rahbaran & Associates advises clients so they may meet all compliance and enforcement needs, such as:
- Obtaining a Specific License for transactions in sanctioned countries
- Enforcement Issues
- International Funds/Wire Transfer Issues
- Release of blocked funds at U.S. financial institutions
- Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List Removal
- Compliance and best practices training
- Advisory Services
Office of Foreign Assets Control
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury “administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.” (http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/offices/Pages/Off…) Sanctions range in scale from targeted, limited and comprehensive in their severity, illustrated by the map below.
General License issued by OFAC for Iranian Funds for Immigration Purposes
As of October 2012, a specific license is no longer required to facilitate the transfer of funds for E-2 (treaty investor) or EB-5 (immigrant investor) Iranian visa petitioners. Current OFAC Iranian Transactions & Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) state that individuals eligible for nonimmigrant classification under visa categories E-2, H or L as well as all immigrant classifications are authorized to carry out in the United States activities to the extent of which their visa was granted provided that the individual is not coming to the U.S. to work as an agent, employee, or contractor of the Government of Iran, or any business or organization in Iran. Beyond the scope of this general license there remain cautionary steps to be taken to ensure that individuals are not receiving funds from sanctioned Iranian banks or individuals on the Specifically Designated Lists (SDN). U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents still require a “specific” OFAC license to divest assets in Iran.
Individuals ordinarily resident in countries under OFAC sanctions, such as Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba, may want to consult with an attorney about whether or not a request for an OFAC License is required. For those ordinarily resident in Iran and applying for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, certain conditions may call for a request for a “No License Required” opinion letter for USCIS purposes or documentation. At present Syrian nationals still, require a specific OFAC license for transferring funds to the U.S.