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Amex pays to settle OFAC liability

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OFAC has announced that American Express Company (AMEX) has agreed toa remit $204,277 to settle potential civil liability for 1,818 apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations at 31 CFR part 515 (CACR).

BCC Corporate SA (“BCCC”) is a Belgium-based credit card issuer and corporate service company that issues various payment products, such as credit cards, to its
European-based corporate customers. At the time of the apparent violations, BCCC was a wholly owned subsidiary of Alpha Card Group (“Alpha Card”), which in turn was owned 50 percent by AMEX, a U.S. financial institution.

Between April 9, 2009 and February 3, 2014, credit cards BCCC had issued to its corporate customers were used to make credit card purchases in Cuba. Although Alpha Card and BCCC had policies and procedures in place to review transactions for matches to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons for compliance with U.S. economic sanctions laws, Alpha Card and BCCC nevertheless failed to implement controls to prevent BCCC-issued credit cards from being used in Cuba. Between April 9, 2009 and February 3, 2014, BCCC processed 1,818 transactions totaling $583,649.43 for more than 100 distinct corporate customers of BCCC whose cards were used in Cuba or that otherwise involved Cuba.

The total base penalty amount for the 1,818 apparent violations was $291,825. OFAC has determined that AMEX voluntary self-disclosed the apparent violations to OFAC and that the apparent violations constitute a non-egregious case.

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