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Deutsche Bank Trust Company settles with OFAC

New York, NY
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OFAC has announced a pair of settlements with Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas ("DBTCA"), a financial institution headquartered in New York City. The Enforcement Release reports that DBTCA agreed to pay $157,000 for processing a large payment of $28,849,038.39, related to a series of purchases of fuel oil, through the United States that involved a property interest of a designated old company in Cyprus. At the time it processed the payment, DBTCA had reason to know of the designated oil company’s potential interest, but did not conduct sufficient due diligence to determine whether the designated oil company’s interest in the payment had been extinguished. As a remedial measure, DBTCA committed to review the circumstances of the apparent violation with its U.S. sanctions compliance unit and to perform any necessary additional training or changes to the bank’s internal procedures.

In connection with that apparent violation, OFAC stated that financial institutions " should take a risk-based approach to sanctions compliance. In this instance, DBTCA was aware that it would be receiving a large funds transfer related to a series of transactions that at some point involved an SDN. OFAC would have expected DBTCA take steps to corroborate independently the representations it received in order to assure itself that IPP did not have a present, future, or contingent interest in the payment it was requested to process, regardless of its time sensitivity." The statutory maximum civil money penalty applicable to this apparent violation is approximately $57.7 million.

Separately, DBTCA agreed to remit $425,600 for processing payments destined for accounts at a designated financial institution. DBTCA failed to stop the 61 payments because it had not included in its sanctions screening tool the designated financial institution’s Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) Business Identifier Code (BIC) and DBTCA’s screening tool was calibrated so that only an exact match to a designated entity would trigger further manual review. In response to these apparent violations, DBTCA promptly implemented changes to its procedures for adding BICs to its screening tool.

The statutory maximum civil monetary penalty applicable in this matter is approximately $18 million.

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