Saudi bank settles with OFAC
OFAC has issued an Enforcement Release to announce that the National Commercial Bank (NCB), headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has agreed to remit $653,347 to settle its potential civil liability for 13 apparent violations of Sudan- and Syria-related sanctions (the “Apparent Violations”). The Apparent Violations, which related to transactions involving Sudan or Syria that transited through the U.S. financial system, were processed between November 7,
2011, and August 28, 2014. This settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that NCB’s Apparent Violations were non-egregious.
Between November 7, 2011 and August 28, 2014, NCB processed, directly or indirectly, 13 U.S. dollar (USD) transactions totaling $5,918,560 to or through the United States in circumstances where a benefit of NCB’s service was received by Sudanese or Syrian counterparties, or that involved goods originating in or transiting through Sudan or Syria. None of the Sudanese or Syrian parties was a customer of NCB. These transactions were in apparent violation of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”), 31 C.F.R. § 538.205, and section 2(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13582 of August 17, 2011, respectively. The Apparent Violations began in late 2011, after the bank had started to implement more robust compliance
measures intended to modernize and upgrade its compliance controls, including those relating to sanctions screening and OFAC sanctions compliance.
Under OFAC’s Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines (“Enforcement Guidelines”), the base civil monetary penalty amount applicable to the case is $1,814,854. The settlement amount of $653,347 reflects OFAC’s consideration of the General Factors under the Enforcement Guidelines. That amount was mitigated by NCB's lack of sanctions history, cooperation in the investigation, and subsequent improvement of controls.