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OFAC and Sudan

Sudan is on the OFAC list. Last year (November, 4, 1997) President Clinton issued an executive Order that identified Sudan as constituting a threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The designation is based on findings that Sudan has provided support for international terrorism, supported efforts to destabilize neighboring governments, and violated human rights.

The order is far-reaching and prohibits most economic transactions with the Government of Sudan and business transactions in Sudan, including:

  • importation of any goods or services of Sudanese origin other than informational materials;
  • exportation or re-exportation of goods technology or services to Sudan;
  • performance of a contract including financing, in support of an industrial commercial public utility or government project in Sudan;
  • grant of or extension of credit or loans to the Government of Sudan;

Regular updating of your bank's OFAC list should already include the Sudan list. If not, update your list immediately and review ownership of existing accounts, comparing them to the new names on the list. There is more to this than capturing transfers of funds, however. The list of prohibited activities includes activities that your commercial customers may engage in. For example, a company that exports computers could be exporting computers to Sudan or to companies that have offices or stores in Sudan. It may be a good idea to review your commercial loan portfolio and commercial depositors. Compare this to the latest OFAC list. Helping commercial customers with OFAC compliance may be a service you can offer. This type of service is not likely to earn any CRA credits, but it should strengthen your bank's compliance with OFAC and hopefully also strengthen relationships with commercial customers.


  • Meet with your commercial lenders to brief them on OFAC. Be sure to share the consequences of any violations.
  • Also meet with Branch Managers and customer service staff to brief them on OFAC. Alert them to the need to compare account ownership to the OFAC list. Explain the procedures and responsibilities.
  • Ask your commercial lenders to review the business activities of their customers and identify any companies that should be alerted to OFAC issues.
  • Share information with those companies about OFAC, prohibited transactions, and blocking to encourage their compliance.

Copyright © 1998 Compliance Action. Originally appeared in Compliance Action, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1/98

First published on 01/01/1998

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