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OFAC announces Cuba updates

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has updated its FAQs regarding Cuba to add five new FAQs regarding vessel transactions with Cuba. OFAC also updated its Specially Designated Nationals List to remove 28 CUBA-designated listings. For identification information on the individuals and entities removed, see OFAC's SDN List Update.


OCC adds sales practices to financial institutions risks

The OCC has released its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2016. which reports on the strategic, credit, operational, and compliance risks facing national banks and federal savings associations. The report includes an added focus on sales oversight, in the aftermath of the Wells Fargo scandal. Other highlights of the report include:

  • Strategic risk remains high as banks consider business model changes and face challenges in growing revenue. Strategic planning remains important as banks adopt innovative products, services, and processes in response to the evolving demands for financial services and the entrance of new competitors, such as out-of-market banks and financial technology firms.
  • Banks continue to ease underwriting practices to boost loan volume and to respond to competition from bank and non-bank lenders. These actions are evident in commercial, commercial real estate and auto lending. The level of risk is increasing due to increased risk layering, rising loan policy exceptions, increasing loan-to-value ratios, and weaker covenant protection.
  • Operational risk remains a concern as banks face changing cybersecurity threats, increased reliance on third-party relationships, and the need for sound governance over sales practices.
  • Banks face challenges meeting the integrated mortgage disclosure requirements and amended Military Lending Act regulatory requirements, and managing Bank Secrecy Act risks.

Comptroller Curry offered remarks during the press call on the report.


OFAC counter terrorism designations

Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has added two individuals to its SDN List, with the SDGT designation.


OFAC targets new Yazuka criminal syndicate

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced it has sanctioned the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, a syndicate of the Japanese Yakuza criminal network. Specifically, OFAC designated two entities and three individuals: the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, three of its key executive members – Kunio Inoue, Osamu Teraoka, and Takashi Ikeda – and its core clan, the Yamaken-gumi, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters. As a result of these actions, all assets of those designated that are in the United States or in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

The Yakuza has relationships with criminal affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, where it uses front companies in legitimate industries, including construction, real estate, and finance, to launder money and hide illicit proceeds. In the United States, the Yakuza has been involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

See OFAC's SDN List Update for identification information on the targeted individuals and entities.


Executive Order adds 11 to SDN List

The Office of Foreign Assets Control announced yesterday that the president has issued an Executive Order (EO), "Taking Additional Steps To Address The National Emergency With Respect To Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities." The new EO amends EO 13694, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.” The amendments allow for the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities determined to be responsible for tampering, altering, or causing the misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions. Five entities and four individuals are identified in the Annex of the amended Executive Order and have been added to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List). OFAC designated an additional two individuals who also will be added to the SDN List. For details on the entities and individuals designated, see our OFAC Update.


OFAC designates two Pakistanis as Global Terrorists

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has acted to disrupt Lashkar-e Tayyiba’s (LeT) fundraising and support networks by designating two of the group’s senior leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs). All property and interests in property of these two individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. See our OFAC Update for details.


FinCEN seeks nominations for BSA Advisory Group

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has published a notice in this morning's Federal Register seeking nominations from the public for membership on the FinCEN Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group. New members will be selected for three-year membership terms. Nominations will be accepted through January 27, 2017.


Treasury adds Syria-related designations

On Friday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated eighteen individuals and five entities in response to the continued acts of violence committed by the Government of Syria, led by Bashar al-Assad, against its own citizens. The designated individuals and entities have provided support or services to the Government of Syria, acted as senior officials of the Government of Syria, supported designated individuals and entities, or aided Syria’s weapons of mass destruction program. As a result of today’s action, any property or interests in property of the designated persons in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within the United States must be blocked. Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited. For additional information, see our OFAC Update for December 23.


OFAC updates Iran sanctions rules

OFAC has amended the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations to expand the scope of medical devices and agricultural commodities generally authorized for export or re-export to Iran pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, as amended. This amendment also includes new or expanded authorizations related to training, replacement parts, software and services for the operation, maintenance, and repair of medical devices, and items that are broken or connected to product recalls or other safety concerns. Additionally, this amendment revises the definition of the terms “goods of Iranian origin” and “Iranian-origin goods.” For more on this story, read our OFAC Update.


Mauritanian added to SDGT list

OFAC has added a Mauritanian, Salack Ould Cheikh Mohamedou, to its SDN list as a specially designated global terrorist.


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