Key Screening Software
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IP Address Screening a Must for Providing Online Services/Tech Support

IP Address Screening a Must for Providing Online Services/Tech Support

From last week’s blog, it became clear that using sophisticated screening software that utilizes fuzzy logic is now a necessity to be compliant. Please see:

Two recent OFAC enforcement actions underscore the importance of screening the IP address of a customer to ensure an embargoed country is not at issue. If such a country is implicated, a simple block with a notice, such as “We regret we are unable to provide service for your jurisdiction”, is all that is needed. This was a capability I witnessed while working at HP, Inc. back in 2015 through 2017, but, it turns out, not every company is sophisticated enough to think of this when providing online services/tech support.

The two recent cases are the BitGo and BitPay cases from December 2020 and February 2021 respectively. I will review each case below for conclusions on best practices on IP address screening.

I. The BitGo IP Address Screening Failure

Please see this URL for additional information on this case:

BitGo, Inc. (“BitGo”) is a technology company based in Palo Alto, California that implements security and scalability platforms for digital assets and offers non-custodial secure digital wallet management services. BitGo agreed in December 2020 to remit $98,830 to settle its potential civil liability for 183 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs.

As a result of deficiencies related to BitGo’s sanctions compliance procedures, BitGo failed to prevent persons apparently located in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria from using its non-custodial secure digital wallet management service. All of these countries are under comprehensive U.S. embargo.

Between approximately March 10, 2015 and December 11, 2019, BitGo processed 183 digital currency transactions, totaling $9,127.79, on behalf of individuals who, based on their IP addresses, were located in these sanctioned jurisdictions.

BitGo had reason to know that these users were located in sanctioned jurisdictions based on Internet Protocol (IP) address data associated with devices used to log in to the BitGo platform. BitGo’s reason to know was based on BitGo’s practice of tracking its users’ IP addresses for security purposes related to account logins. BitGo, however, did not use this IP address information for sanctions compliance purposes.

At the time of the transactions, however, BitGo failed to implement controls designed to prevent such users from accessing its services. OFAC determined that BitGo did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations and that the violations constituted a non-egregious case.

II. The BitPay IP Address Screening Failure

Please see this URL for additional information on this case:

BitPay, Inc. (“BitPay”) is a private company based in Atlanta, Georgia that offers a payment processing solution for merchants to accept digital currency as payment for goods and services. BitPay agreed to remit $507,375 to settle its potential civil liability for 2,102 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs.

BitPay allowed persons who appear to have been located in the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria to transact with merchants in the United States and elsewhere using digital currency on BitPay’s platform. This happened even though BitPay had location information, including IP addresses and other location data, about those persons prior to consummating the transactions.

BitPay’s sanctions compliance program deficiencies enabled persons in these sanctioned jurisdictions to engage in approximately $129,000 worth of digital currency-related transactions with BitPay’s merchant customers. The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that BitPay’s apparent violations were not voluntarily self-disclosed and were non-egregious.

III. Conclusion on IP Address Screening

If a business offers a service online (be it digital currency services, tech support services or other services), it will be necessary to screen the IP addresses of customers prior to providing services. If such customers are from one of the comprehensively embargoed countries (currently, the Crimea region, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria), it will be necessary to impose a transaction block.

The Crimea region of the Ukraine presents a bit of a challenge as one does not want to block all business with the Ukraine. The way we overcame this issue at HP, Inc. is we requested from the U.S. Postal Service all zip codes associated with the Crimea region. Hence, the initial IP address for the Ukraine was flagged, and then, the decision on whether to impose a transaction block was then subject to a secondary flag based on the zip code. If the code was within the Crimea, the transaction block message would be sent and the IP address would be blocked accordingly.

While the BitGo and BitPay penalties may seem relatively low, their cases have been made public, and it is likely that other U.S. person intermediaries (banks in particular) will impose additional due diligence vetting on both of these companies. That, in turn, can cause cash flow delays and outright disruptions. It is therefore well worth undertaking the proper compliance these cases illustrate.

Is Fuzzy Logic Now Clear?

Is Fuzzy Logic Now Clear?

I wrote briefly about “fuzzy logic” in a prior post (please see: What I did not mention is that a couple of America’s biggest companies have recently gotten caught for failures to pick up aliases that their respective software programs should have caught.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) itself has recently upgraded the “fuzzy logic” in its own search tool in January 2021. Please see:

Those two companies that got in trouble recently for inadequate “fuzzy logic” capabilities are Apple and Amazon. This blog will review both cases to illustrate the importance of proper “fuzzy logic” capabilities in a chosen software service provider.

I. Apple’s Failure with Fuzzy Logic

In November 2019, Apple, Inc. agreed to pay $466,912 to settle its OFAC case for apparent violations of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations. (Please see:

Apple dealt in the property or interests in property of SIS, d.o.o. (“SIS”), a Slovenian software company previously identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List”) as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker (“SDNTK”). The SDN List provided the following identifying information for SIS: SIS D.O.O., 19 Spruha, Trzin 1236, Slovenia; Registration ID 5919070 (Slovenia); Tax ID No. SI91729181 (Slovenia) [SDNTK].

Apple screened the newly designated SDNTKs against its app developer account holder names using its sanctions screening tool. However, Apple failed to identify that SIS, an App Store developer, was added to the SDN List and was therefore blocked. Apple later attributed this failure to its sanctions screening tool’s failure to match the upper case name “SIS DOO” in Apple’s system with the lower case name “SIS d.o.o.” as written on the SDN List. The term “d.o.o.” is a standard corporate suffix in Slovenia identifying a limited liability company.

OFAC determined the following to be mitigating factors regarding Apple’s correction of its “fuzzy logic” deficiency in its screening software, namely, Apple:

• Reconfigured the primary sanctions screening tool to fully capture spelling and capitalization variations and to account for country-specific business suffixes, and implemented an annual review of the tool’s logic and configuration;
• Expanded sanctions screening to include not only app developers, but also their designated payment beneficiaries and associated banks; and
• Updated the instructions for employees to review potential SDN List matches flagged by the primary sanctions screening tool.

II. Amazon Fuzzy Logic Failure, Inc.agreed to pay $134,523 in July 2020 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of multiple OFAC sanctions programs (please see:
As a result of deficiencies related to Amazon’s sanctions screening processes, Amazon provided goods and services to persons sanctioned by OFAC; to persons located in the sanctioned region or countries of Crimea, Iran, and Syria; and to individuals located in or employed by the foreign missions of countries sanctioned by OFAC.

The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that Amazon’s apparent violations were non-egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed, and further reflects the significant remedial measures implemented by Amazon upon discovery of the apparent violations.

Overall, OFAC found the apparent violations consisted primarily of transactions involving low-value retail goods and services for which the total transaction value of the apparent violations was approximately $269,000. OFAC further determined the apparent violations occurred primarily because Amazon’s automated sanctions screening processes failed to fully analyze all transaction and customer data relevant to compliance with OFAC’s sanctions regulations.

What served as chief mitigating factors was that Amazon undertook significant remedial measures to address its sanctions screening deficiencies. Such measures included:

• Employing internal and third-party sources to conduct a thorough review of Amazon’s sanctions compliance program and its automated screening systems in order to address the screening failures that gave rise to the apparent violations. In particular, Amazon is incorporating additional automated preventative screening controls designed to scale and operate effectively for its overall retail business;
• Developing internally custom screening lists to minimize the risk of processing transactions that raise sanctions compliance concerns; and
• Enhancing its sanctioned jurisdiction Internet Protocol (IP) blocking controls and implementing automated processes to update continually its mapping of IP ranges associated with sanctioned jurisdictions.

III. “Fuzzy Logic” Becomes Clear Logic

After reviewing both the Apple and Amazon cases, it becomes readily clear why proper “fuzzy logic” capabilities in picking up alternate spellings and aliases is so important. While such “fuzzy logic” can result in an overwhelming number of “false positive” matches, the logic can be tweaked to match the risk profile of a given company, depending on types of business partners and geographies covered.

Because a given company’s risk profile can evolve over time, it is most helpful to undertake the commitment Apple made in  implementing an annual review of the screening tool’s logic and configuration (likely best done as part of an annual risk assessment).

Blacklisted?  Delisting Potential for Mistaken Identity or Changed Circumstances

Blacklisted? Delisting Potential for Mistaken Identity or Changed Circumstances

From last week’s post (, if you happen to find yourself or a business partner triggering a blacklist screen alert, there might be different reasons for the trigger that merit inquiry. It could be due to mistaken identity or changed circumstances, and there is potential to request delisting.

I. Mistaken Identity Delisting

In my last Fortune 200 company job, I travelled to Mexico City with one of our internal auditors (who was fully bilingual in both Spanish and English). The problem was that his named triggered a “specially designated national” (SDN) match which also translated into a “Do Not Fly” prohibition. Fortunately, this was not the first time my former work colleague had encountered this issue, and he produced an electronic file with key documentation indicating his full name, place and date of birth as well as his current residence address. All of these were distinguishing facts that helped clear his name. We boarded our flight without further ado.

There is an Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) procedure under 31 CFR § 501.806 to petition to unblock funds that have been frozen due to mistaken identity. Under subsection (d), a request to release funds should include the following information, where known, concerning the transaction:

(1) The name of the financial institution in which the funds are blocked;

(2) The amount blocked;

(3) The date of the blocking;

(4) The identity of the original remitter of the funds and any intermediary financial institutions;

(5) The intended beneficiary of the blocked transfer;

(6) A description of the underlying transaction including copies of related documents (e.g., invoices, bills of lading, promissory notes, etc.);

(7) The nature of the applicant’s interest in the funds; and

(8) A statement of the reasons why the applicant believes the funds were blocked due to mistaken identity.

This can happen more often than not if the financial institution uses screening software with fuzzy logic that picks up potential aliases. Indeed, many banks have received harsh OFAC penalties and tend to err on the side of caution. A well documented request can ensure release of overzealous fund blocking in relatively short order.

II. Changed Circumstances Delisting

It is also possible that one is being blocked as a result of a true SDN match. There is also a procedure to request reconsideration based on changed circumstances. 31 CFR § 501.807 governs Requests for delisting from the SDN and Blocked Persons List.

This regulation provides a procedure for submitting arguments or evidence that might establish that insufficient basis exists for the SDN designation. The blocked person also may propose remedial steps, such as corporate reorganization, resignation of persons from positions in a blocked entity, or similar steps, which the person believes would negate the basis for designation.

As another example, the regulation explains a person owning a majority interest in a blocked vessel may propose the sale of the vessel, with the proceeds to be placed into a blocked interest-bearing account after deducting the costs incurred while the vessel was blocked and the costs of the sale. Taking such action could provide grounds for delisting as an SDN.

III. It is Advisable to Request a Meeting with OFAC on Delisting

§ 501.807(c) permits a blocked person to request a meeting with the OFAC decision makers; however, the regulation states such meetings are not required and that OFAC may, at its discretion, decline to conduct such a meeting.

With experienced counsel, it is highly advisable to request such a meeting. The value of establishing credibility in-person cannot be understated with so much at stake in such proceedings. When making the initial request, it will be necessary to inquire about the in-person meeting opportunity at the same time. To have the best hope of having a meeting request granted, one should present a proposed agenda along with a list of supporting documents, visual aids and third party certifications and verifications.

3 Key Steps in OFAC Compliance: Screen, Screen and Screen!

3 Key Steps in OFAC Compliance: Screen, Screen and Screen!

I occasionally receive questions over how best to cover the bases when OFAC can easily add new specially designated nationals on a daily basis. The three key steps are to screen, screen and screen!

I. Screen Intervention Points

The intervention points for screening include:

  1. At the onboarding stage for business partners;
  2. At the order in-take stage in a given transaction; and
  3. At the time of shipment should there be a lag between the date of order intake versus shipment date.

It will also be necessary to batch screen on a periodic basis to make sure previously on-boarded business partners are still in the clear. That is, there are certainly instances where a customer or supplier will clear the initial screening only to turn into a bad apple at a later date.

II. URL Screen

If the company provides technical support on-line, it will even be necessary to screen for embargoed country URL addresses to avoid inadvertently undertaking business with prohibited parties. This scenario arises more frequently than not as third parties in benign countries can resell to parties in one of the embargoed countries (currently, those countries and regions include: Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria).

III. Alias Screen

There is also the need to be able to pick up close spellings and aliases. This screening functionality is known as “fuzzy” logic. In fact, OFAC just upgraded its own free screening tool with this capability as reported last month (please see: The URL for OFAC’s screening tool is:

IV. Key Lists To Screen Against

Moreover, if a company is globally deployed, it will be necessary to ensure other key lists are screened above and beyond the U.S. lists. At a minimum, screening should take place against these lists:

CAATSA Section 231(d) Defense and Intelligence Sectors of the Government of the Russian FederationUS Dept. of Treasury
List of Foreign Financial InstitutionsUS Dept. of State
SDN, Western Balkans (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Chemical Biological Weapons Concerns (DOS)US Dept. of State
Non-SDN Communist Chinese Military Companies ListUS Dept. of Treasury
Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List (DOS)US Dept. of State
Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) – Section 224 (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Department of State Debarred Parties (DOS)US Dept. of State
Department of State, ChinaUS Dept. of State
Foreign Interference in a United States Election (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Designated Terrorist Organization (DOS/OFAC)US Dept. of State
Department of State Cuba Restricted ListUS Dept. of State
End-User Requiring License – Entity ListUS Dept. of Commerce
European Union Sanctions ListEuropean Union
US Presidential Executive Order ListWhite House
Foreign Sanctions Evaders List (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Money Laundering Concerns (FINCEN)US Dept. of Treasury
German Proliferation Concerns (Concern List Only)German Government (BAFA)
Human Rights Information Technology (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Blocking Property of Certain Persons Associated with the International Criminal CourtUS Dept. of Treasury
Iran Sanctions Act (DOS)US Dept. of State
Iran, North Korea and Syria Non-proliferation ActUS Dept. of State
Japanese Proliferation Concerns (METI)Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Transfer of Lethal Military Equipment (DOS)US Dept. of State
Military End User List, CommerceUS Dept. of Commerce
Missile Technology Concerns (DOS)US Dept. of State
Merchant Vessel, Cuba (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their SupportersUS Dept. of Treasury
Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (CAATSA RUSSIA) (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Non-SDN Palestinian Legislative Council (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Red Flag Concerns (BIS)US Dept. of Commerce
Specially Designated Global Terrorist-SDGT (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Terrorists – SDME (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Belarus (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, BurundiUS Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Cuba (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Central African RepublicUS Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Congo (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated National, Hong Kong (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Iraq (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Iran (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, N. Korea (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Libya (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, LebanonUS Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, MaliUS Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals,  Nicaragua (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Sudan (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, South Sudan (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Sergei Magnitsky (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Yemen (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated National, Somalia (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Syria (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Narcotic Trafficker (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Ukraine (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Venezuela (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Specially Designated Nationals, Zimbabwe (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (OFAC)US Dept. of Treasury
Denied Persons List (BIS)US Dept. of Commerce
Transnational Criminal OrganizationsUS Dept. of Treasury
UK Proliferation Concerns (Concern List Only)Government Authority – UK Government (DTI/BERR)
United Nations Security Council SanctionsUnited Nations

When OFAC Legal Services Facilitation Goes too Far

When OFAC Legal Services Facilitation Goes too Far

One of the tricky aspects of being an attorney licensed in a U.S. state and specialized in OFAC sanctions law is this: the potential to go too far in inadvertently facilitating a bad actor through the provision of legal services. This is because a U.S. person is prohibited from exporting services to, as well as from importing services from, a blocked person or specially designated national (SDN).

A. The OFAC Prohibition

As OFAC itself states the prohibition (at:

“U.S. persons, wherever located, may not otherwise approve, finance, facilitate, or guarantee any transaction by a foreign person [. . . ] where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by 31 C.F.R.
chapter V if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States.”

B. OFAC FAQs on What is Permissible

OFAC FAQs provide examples of what would be permissible at:

FAQ 497 gives an example where a U.S. person may opine on the legality of a transaction under U.S. sanctions laws (though not to an SDN). This can include providing a legal opinion, certification, or other clearance as to the legality of such transaction, where it would be prohibited for a U.S. person to engage in the transaction. This suggests that being provided a set of facts or hypothetical facts would present a permissible opportunity to counsel the client on the legality of the circumstances.

FAQ 498 elaborates that U.S. persons may conduct research to determine the legality of transactions under U.S. sanctions laws. Using the internet, including searches of commercial databases, as well as published reference materials are all permissible. In addition, U.S. persons may solicit information regarding a transaction from non-blocked (non-SDN) persons. This can include, for example, the currency involved; any involvement of U.S. persons, directly or indirectly; and the identity of the counterparty.

C. OFAC FAQ on What is Not Permissible

However, FAQ 497 (second part), by contrast, warns that U.S. persons could not vote on a transaction (e.g., as a board member), or execute transaction documents (other than as to the legality of the transaction), where the transaction would be prohibited if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States. This would seem to suggest, in providing legal services, that offering alternative hypothetical scenarios that would be permissible for a foreign person, but not so for a U.S. person, would be going too far.

D. Is It OFAC Sanction Avoidance vs Evasion at the Crux of the Matter?

In short, an attorney licensed in a U.S. state (or who is otherwise a U.S. person/compliance advisor) must be careful not to cross the line. The line is akin to tax evasion versus tax avoidance (the former is illegal while the latter is legal). Put another way, the above examples authorize an attorney licensed in a U.S. state to provide counsel to non-blocked (non-SDN) persons on legitimately minimizing sanctions exposure; what is prohibited is aiding and abetting a foreign person in undertaking action that would otherwise be prohibited of a U.S. person or, put another way, in facilitating outright evasion of OFAC sanctions.

Please leave your thoughts below on whether this discussion is helpful.

SDN Designations Increase over 150% since 2015!

SDN Designations Increase over 150% since 2015!

With the changing of the POTUS guard, it is an appropriate time to check on the State of OFAC sanctions SDN designations since just before the last time the changing of the guard occurred. The following charts are from June 2015 and January 2021 respectively, and they show OFAC SDN designations increased 150%! (Please see:

SourceDescriptionUpdated On# Records
June 2015
OFAC(SDN) Specially Designated Nationals List06/04/1525,306
(OFCL) Consolidated List05/21/15416
BISBIS Denied Persons/Unverified List05/14/15874
FBIMost Wanted Terrorist List09/12/1442
EuropeHM Treasury Sanction List05/20/157,838
European Union Sanction List02/21/1513,607
UNUnited Nations 1267 List09/12/142,336
SourceDescriptionUpdated On# Records
January 2021
OFAC(SDN) Specially Designated Nationals List01/19/2138,071
(OFCL) Consolidated List03/18/191,976
BISBIS Denied Persons/Unverified List/Entity List05/25/204,654
EuropeHM Treasury Sanction List01/21/2110,736
European Union Sanction List03/19/1910,950
UNUnited Nations 1267 List03/16/206,31

This 2021 blog (as opposed to prior current event blogs at: will focus on practical challenges businesses face in complying with the ever dynamic sanctions laws given this uptick in designations. The increase does not appear to be an aberration of the Trump administration. Already with newly installed President Joe Biden talking tough via phone with Vladimir Putin and exclaiming the POTUS will have no reason to hold summits with Kim Jung Un unless North Korea denuclearizes first, the state of continued OFAC designations promises to be alive and well for the foreseeable future.

Crafting a proper set of policies and procedures to comply with sanctions laws will be mission critical, not to mention the proper selection of screening software, the proper resolution of potential matches, the ability to impose transaction stops in a timely manner as well as dealing with the new OFAC reporting requirements.

U.S. Reimposes all Sanctions on November 5, 2018 Lifted under Former Iran Nuclear Deal

U.S. Reimposes all Sanctions on November 5, 2018 Lifted under Former Iran Nuclear Deal

November 4, 2018 was the last day of the 180-day wind-down period following President Trump’s May 8, 2018 announcement to withdraw the US’ participation from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Nuclear Deal).  On November 5, 2018, the US fully reimposed the sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the Nuclear Deal.  These tough sanctions on Iran target critical sectors of Iran’s economy, including the energy, shipping and shipbuilding, as well as financial sectors.
As part of the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime, OFAC sanctioned more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft, and vessels on November 5, 2018.
Additionally, on November 5, 2018, OFAC moved persons identified as meeting the definition of the terms “Government of Iran” or an “Iranian financial institution” from the List of Persons Blocked Solely Pursuant to E.O. 13599 (the “E.O. 13599 List”) to the SDN List and removed the E.O. 13599 List from its website.   This, in effect, moved these persons back into “blacklisted” status.
Notably, the Wall Street Journal reported November 7, 2018 at
  “For some Western companies whose dealings with Iran are primarily limited to export, the trade had already subsided so much as a result of Iran’s economic woes that the new U.S. restrictions are unlikely to have a major impact.
The Iranian rial’s sharp loss in value caused California-based Del Monte to stop exporting packaged food to Iran several months ago because its products were suddenly much more expensive.
‘They are very cautious to not buy food from outside,’ Muhammad Adil Imtiaz, a Dubai-based sales manager for Del Monte, said of Iranian buyers. ‘For consumers buying any product, not just food but garments and electronics, the prices have changed completely on the shelves.'”
The impact of the re-imposed sanctions were already having the intended impact prior to November 5, 2018.  For example as reported in the same above article, the Europeans are resorting to creating an alternative financing vehicle to operate outside the U.S. financial system in effort to permit EU countries to continue to adhere to the Iran Nuclear Deal, an effort that has met with many snags.
Trump Issues Executive Order on September 12th on Election Interference Sanctions

Trump Issues Executive Order on September 12th on Election Interference Sanctions

President Trump issued an Executive Order (“EO”) on September 12th to impose certain sanctions in the event of foreign interference in an U.S. election (particularly timely given the upcoming mid-term elections).  Please see:

National Security and Foreign Policy Emergency:

The EO states the threat has become a concern of national security and foreign policy.  It points to the relatively recent proliferation of digital devices and internet-based communications as having created significant vulnerabilities and having magnified the scope and intensity of the threat of foreign interference.

Two Post Election 45 Day Review Periods:

The EO sets up a two 45 day post election review periods.   The first 45 day review period is for the Director of National Intelligence to deliver an assessment and appropriate supporting information to the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.   Then the EO provides that, within 45 days of receiving the assessment and information, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall deliver to the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the
Secretary of Defense a report evaluating:

(i) the extent to which any foreign interference materially affected the security or integrity of the election infrastructure, the tabulation of votes, or the timely transmission of election results; and

(ii) if any foreign interference involved activities targeting the infrastructure of, or pertaining to, a political organization, campaign, or candidate, the extent to which such activities materially affected the security or integrity of that infrastructure, including by unauthorized access to, disclosure or threatened disclosure of, or alteration or falsification of, information or data.

SND Designation:

The key remedy to counteract such interference will be the designation of persons as specially designated nationals as follows:

All property and interests in property that are in the United States of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any foreign person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security:

(i) to have directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in a United States election;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any activity described above or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property or interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

Additional Possible Sanctions:

The EO provides for additional sanctions on a case-by-case basis as follows:

Additional proposed sanctions may be imposed with respect to the largest business entities licensed or domiciled in a country whose government authorized, directed, sponsored, or supported election interference, including at least one entity from each of the following sectors: financial services, defense, energy, technology, and transportation (or, if inapplicable to that country’s largest business entities, sectors of comparable strategic significance to that foreign government).  Any recommended sanctions may include one or more of the following with respect to each targeted foreign person:

(i) blocking and prohibiting all transactions in a person’s property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction;
(ii) export license restrictions under any statute or regulation that requires the prior review and approval of the United States Government as a condition for the export or re-export of goods or services;
(iii) prohibitions on United States financial institutions making loans or providing credit to a person;
(iv) restrictions on transactions in foreign exchange in which a person has any interest;
(v) prohibitions on transfers of credit or payments between financial institutions, or by, through, or to any financial institution, for the benefit of a person;
(vi) prohibitions on United States persons investing in or purchasing equity or debt of a person;
(vii) exclusion of a person’s alien corporate officers from the United States;
(viii) imposition on a person’s alien principal executive officers of any of the sanctions described in this section; or
(ix) any other measures authorized by law.



Russia Nerve Agent Sanctions Take Hold Effective August 27, 2018

Russia Nerve Agent Sanctions Take Hold Effective August 27, 2018

The Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation issued a public notice on August 24, 2018 regarding the specifics of the Russia Nerve Agent sanctions (please see my post of August 9, 2018).   The Department advised the notice is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 08/27/2018 and is available online at

The specifics, which are to be applied for at least one year until further notice, include:

1. Foreign Assistance: Termination of assistance to Russia under the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961, except for urgent humanitarian assistance and food or other
agricultural commodities or products.

2. Arms Sales: Termination of

(a) sales to Russia under the Arms Export Control Act of
any defense articles, defense services, or design and construction services, and

(b) licenses for the export to Russia of any item on the United States Munitions List, but
waived on a case-by-case basis with respect to the issuance of licenses in support of government
space cooperation and commercial space launches.

3. Arms Sales Financing: Termination of all foreign military financing for Russia under
the Arms Export Control Act.

4. Denial of United States Government Credit or Other Financial Assistance: Denial to
Russia of any credit, credit guarantees, or other financial assistance by any
department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government, including
the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

5. Exports of National Security-Sensitive Goods and Technology: Prohibition on the
export to Russia of any goods or technology on that part of the control list established
under Section 2404(c)(1) of the Appendix to Title 50.

The Department is waiving these sanctions in the interests of national security with
respect to the following on a case-by-case basis (meeting all the terms of the below
noted license exception will permit one to move forward):

LICENSE EXCEPTIONS: Exports and reexports of goods or technology eligible
under License Exceptions GOV, ENC, RPL, BAG, TMP, TSU, APR, CIV, and AVS.

SAFETY OF FLIGHT: Exports and reexports of goods or technology pursuant to
new licenses necessary for the safety of flight of civil fixed-wing passenger aviation.

DEEMED EXPORTS/REEXPORTS: Exports and re-exports of goods or technology
pursuant to new licenses for deemed exports and reexports to Russian nationals.

WHOLLY-OWNED U.S. SUBSIDIARIES: Exports and reexports of goods or
technology pursuant to new licenses for exports and reexports to wholly-owned U.S.
subsidiaries in Russia.

SPACE FLIGHT: Exports and reexports of goods or technology pursuant to new
licenses in support of government space cooperation and commercial space launches.

COMMERCIAL END-USERS: Exports and reexports of goods or technology
pursuant to new licenses for commercial end-users civil end-uses in Russia.

SOEs/SFEs: Exports and reexports of goods or technology pursuant to new licenses
for Russian state-owned or state-funded enterprises though subject to a “presumption
of denial” policy.