On October 21, OFAC issued a Finding of Violation to a Chicago-based bank as the successor of a bank that processed six funds transfers totaling approximately $67,000. According to OFAC, the predecessor bank, between February 3, 2011 and March 10, 2011, processed six funds transfers on behalf of its customer “for the purpose of paying an outstanding balance owed to an Iranian entity located in Iran for the purchase of Iranian-origin carpets,” allegedly resulting in a violation of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR). The bank allegedly failed to remove its customer “from [its] False Hit List or implement any additional measures to prevent or identify possible violations involving the [customer]” after OFAC removed a general license for the importation of Iranian-origin carpets, which became effective September 29, 2010.
OFAC stated that its determination to issue a Finding of Violation reflects that (i) the predecessor bank may have not been aware of the risks associated with failing to properly review and update a false hit list; (ii) a staff member was aware of the conduct that led to two of the violations, and had “reason to know that the customer may process additional transactions in violation of the ITSR”; and (iii) the bank failed to maintain a compliance program with procedures for updating its internal sanctions list following changes to OFAC-administered sanctions programs. On the other hand, OFAC also considered that (i) no managers or supervisors were aware of the conduct that led to the ITSR violation; (ii) the bank had not previously received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation; and (iii) the bank – pre and post-merger – substantially cooperated with OFAC during the investigation.