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OFAC extends Venezuela and Ukraine licenses

OFAC has announced the amendment and extension of Venezuela General License 13A (“Authorizing Certain Activities Involving Nynas AB”) ​and the temporeary extension of Ukraine General Licenses 13L ("Authorizing Certain Transactions Necessary to Divest or Transfer Debt, Equity, or Other Holdings in Certain Blocked Persons") and 15 F ("Authorizing Certain Activities Necessary to Maintenance or Wind Down of Operations or Existing Contracts with GAZ Group, or Certain Automotive Safety Activities").


OFAC targets senior IRGC commanders

Treasury announced yesterday that OFAC has taken action against eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace, and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Those designations reinforce the President’s action in issuing an Executive Order imposing sanctions on the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the Supreme Leader’s Office. The President’s order will deny Iran’s leadership access to financial resources and authorizes the targeting of persons appointed to certain official or other positions by the Supreme Leader or the Supreme Leader’s Office. Moreover, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the U.S. financial system.

For identification information on these and others designated under the president's Executive Order, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


OCC enforcement actions announced

The OCC has released a list of enforcement actions taken in May against OCC-supervised institutions and individuals affiliated with them. Among those actions were:

  • A Notice of Charges for an order of prohibition was issued against a former personal banking representative at Massachusetts branches of Santander Bank, N.A., Wilmington, Delaware, who misappropriated $46,027 of bank customer funds and created false bank entries. The Notice announces the OCC's intention to issue the order of prohibition, subject to the respondent's right to an administrative hearing of the OCC's charges.
  • A Notice of Prohibition was issued against a former Chief Executive Office and Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Federal Savings Bank, FSB, Chicago, Illinois, who has been indicted and charged with commission or participation in a crime involving dishonesty and breach of trust. The former banker is charged with using his position to issue $16 million in loans to a borrower whom the banker expected would, in return, assist the banker in obtained a senior position with an incoming presidential administration. When the borrower defaulted on the loans, the bank suffered a multi-million dollar loss.
  • An Order of Prohibition was issued against a former New York Branch Manger of JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, Columbus, Ohio, for theft of $4,992 from his teller drawer.
  • An Order of Prohibition was issued against a former Store Manager of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., who inappropriately processed temporary memo credits to falsely inflate the balance of her personal account.


    OCC moving to electronic fingerprinting

    OCC Bulletin 2019-29, issued Friday, announces that the OCC is moving to electronic fingerprinting to facilitate background checks performed in connection with applications and notices submitted to the OCC, including applications for charters, notices of acquisition of control, and notices to replace board members or senior management in certain institutions. The OCC will begin using the new process in July 2019.

    In coordination with these changes, the OCC has issued revisions to the “Background Investigations” and “Changes in Directors and Senior Executive Officers” booklets of the Comptroller’s Licensing Manual to incorporate updated procedures and requirements for electronic fingerprinting.


    Mnuchin addresses FATC plenary meeting

    Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin delivered closing remarks at the Plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Orlando, Florida, on Friday. The Plenary marked the 30-year anniversary of the FATF, and the final Plenary under Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea’s leadership, during whose term as FATF president the organization achieved critical advances in the global fight to combat illicit finance.


    Ortega’s advisors designated

    Treasury has announced OFAC's designation of four Nicaraguan government officials -- Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes, Orlando Jose Castillo Castillo, Sonia Castro Gonzalez, and Oscar Salvador Mojica Obregon -- under Executive Order 13851. Additionally, Sonia Castro Gonzalez and Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes have been designated under the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 (NHRAA). The action targets Nicaraguan government officials who persecute Nicaraguan citizens exercising their fundamental freedoms, enact repressive laws, silence news media, and deny medical care to the Nicaraguan people. For further identification information on the four designated individuals, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.


    MLA website changes scheduled this week

    The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) has announced that on June 27, 2019, it will make significant changes to the Military Lending Act (MLA) website to enhance security of the site and better protect the personal information of servicemembers. All users of the site will be required to create user accounts, which will be required to access both the Single Record Request and the Multiple Record Request capabilities of the site. In addition to the username, password, company name, and challenge questions currently required to create a user account, beginning June 27, 2019, new MLA website users will be required to supply the user's first name, last name, address, and e-mail address in order to create an account. Starting around mid-August 2019, existing MLA website users will be required to update their accounts with the additional fields.


    EU-US statement on security threats

    At the conclusion of the E.U.-U.S. Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs in Bucharest, Romania, a joint statement was issued regarding E.U.-U.S. cooperation in addressing common security threats. E.U. and U.S. representatives affirmed that fighting terrorism is among their top priorities and committed to enhance their joint efforts, including by expanding the sharing of information gathered in zones of combat for use in investigations and prosecutions. The E.U. and the U.S. also discussed the priority area of security in cyberspace. Participants committed to further joint efforts to maintain a safe, open, and secure cyberspace, and exchanged views on how to best address growing cyber threats.


    OFAC amends reporting and penalties regulations

    OFAC has published an interim final rule [84 FR 29055] amending its Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulation (RPPR) at 31 CFR part 501, which establish standard reporting and recordkeeping requirements and license application and other procedures relevant to the economic sanctions programs administered by OFAC. The interim rule

    • provides updated instructions and incorporates new requirements for parties filing reports on blocked property, unblocked property, or rejected transactions;
    • revises the licensing procedures section to include information regarding OFAC’s electronic license application procedures, and to provide additional instructions regarding applications for the release of blocked funds; and
    • clarifies the rules governing the availability of information under federal law, including the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), for information that is submitted to OFAC in connection with blocking or unblocking reports, reports on rejected transactions, or license applications.

    The amendments are effective June 21, 2019. Comments on the interim final rule will be accepted through July 22, 2019.


    IRS ETAAC committee report on ID theft and refund fraud

    The IRS Electronic Tax Administration Committee (ETAAC) has released its annual report to Congress, featuring recommendations focused on the prevention of identity theft and refund fraud. The report groups a total of 10 recommendations into three sections: enabling and expanding the IRS-sponsored Security Summit, improving security in key areas of the tax system and protecting and enabling taxpayers.


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