I am pleased to welcome you to the Global Investigations Review guide to economic sanctions. In the following pages, you’ll read in detail about sanctions programmes, best practices for sanctions compliance, enforcement cases, and the unique challenges created in corporate transactions and litigation by sanctions laws. This volume will be a helpful and important resource for anyone striving to maintain compliance and understand the consequences of economic sanctions.

The compliance work conducted by the private sector is critically important to stopping the flow of funds to weapons proliferators such as North Korea and Iran, terrorist organisations like ISIS and Hezbollah, countering Russia’s continued aggressive behaviour, targeting human rights violators and corrupt actors, and disrupting drug traffickers such as the Sinaloa Cartel. I strongly believe that we are much more effective in protecting our financial system when government works collaboratively with the private sector.

Accordingly, one of my top priorities as Under Secretary was to provide the private sector with the tools and information necessary to maintain compliance with sanctions and AML laws and to play its role in the fight against illicit finance. The Treasury has provided increasingly detailed guidance on compliance in the form of advisories, hundreds of FAQs, press releases announcing actions that detail typologies, and the recent OFAC framework to guide companies on the design of their sanctions compliance programmes. Advisories range from detailed guidance from OFAC and our interagency partners for the maritime, energy and insurance sectors, to sanctions press releases that provided greater detail on the means that illicit actors use to try to exploit the financial system, to FinCEN advisories providing typologies relating to a wide range of illicit activity.

Whether it was for the Iran, North Korea or Venezuela programmes, or in connection with human rights abuses and corrupt actors around the globe, the US Treasury has been dedicated to educating the private sector so that they in turn can further protect themselves. The objective is not only to disrupt illicit activity but also to provide greater confidence in the integrity of the financial system, so we can likewise open up new opportunities and access to financial services across the globe. That guidance is particularly important today with the increased use of sanctions and other economic measures across a broader spectrum of jurisdictions and programmes.

As you read this publication, I encourage you to notice the array of guidance, authorities and other materials provided by the US Treasury and other authorities cited and discussed by the authors. This material, provided first-hand from those charged with writing and enforcing sanctions laws, gives us a critical understanding of these laws and how the private sector should respond to them. By understanding and using that guidance, private companies can help to protect US and global financial systems against nefarious actors, as well as avoid unwanted enforcement actions.

Thank you for your interest in these subjects, your dedication to understanding this important area of the law, and your efforts to protect the financial system from abuse.

Sigal Mandelker

Former Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
July 2020

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