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Author: Erich Ferrari

You Talking to Me? The ITSR, Iranians, and Ordinary Residency

Just because you are a citizen of Iran does not mean that the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”) prohibit U.S. persons from transacting with you. This statement is made in response to one of the most frequently asked questions we receive. These questions usually involve some iteration of facts in which an Iranian national outside of Iran wants to engage in a transaction with the U.S., U.S. persons, U.S. origin goods, or in U.S. dollars. Inevitably, someone will get spooked that an Iranian national has some role in the transaction, and will not want to proceed due to...

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Crypto-Craze: Will Sanctions Evaders Turn to Cryptocurrencies to Beat OFAC?

If you don’t watch the news, go on the internet, or have friends, then you probably haven’t heard of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. While these digital assets have been around for years, they have recently gained increased public attention due to the meteoric rise of their values, particularly over the last several months. The potential benefit of such seemingly anonymous payment systems has not been lost upon those feeling the pinch of U.S. sanctions due to their location in an embargoed jurisdiction, or because they themselves have been targeted by sanctions. Indeed, the idea is now...

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Factoring In OFAC’s Enforcement Guidelines

From what I understand the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), sends out over 1,000 administrative subpoenas every year. Many of these subpoenas go to companies and financial institutions that have the resources to properly respond to OFAC’s inquiries. While such responses are often organized and (sometimes) fully responsive, I am often struck by the fact that companies, and even some counsel, don’t address OFAC’s Enforcement Guidelines in their response to OFAC’s subpoenas. The Enforcement Guidelines guide OFAC’s determination as what an appropriate response to an apparent violation of an OFAC administered sanctions...

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Ummm What? Dastranj v. Dehghan

On August 17, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued a memorandum opinion granting in part and denying in part the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in the case of Dastranj v. Dehghan, a civil action brought by an Iranian citizen Plaintiff (Dastranj) who brought a series of claims arising from the Defendant’s (Dehghan) refusal to return investment money after Plaintiff’s request for an EB-5 visa, and a B1/B2 visa to visit the EB-5 project site, were denied by the U.S. Department of State. The Defendant–who was responsible with obtaining investor capital for a...

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New Venezuela Sanctions–Sectoral Sanctions Without the Sectors?

Perhaps lost amidst the weekend’s news of Hurricane Harvey, Seb Gorka resigning, and Joe Arpaio being pardoned, was the announcement of a new Venezuelan sanctions authority, and several associated general licenses. While a new sanctions authority is always news around these parts, what jumped out at me most was the use of prohibitions that looked a lot like sectoral sanctions. The new Venezuelan sanctions executive order (“E.O”) is molded in a similar fashion to E.O. 13662 insofar as it is based on the President’s authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), builds upon a prior executive order–E.O....

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