There might be no better indicator of the impact of an OFAC SDN designation than the press release just put out by German trade finance provider DF Deutsche Forfait AG.
For those who don’t remember, Deutsche Forfait was designated on February 6, 2014 for “facilitate[ing] oil deals in circumvention of oil sanctions for NIOC.” That would be NIOC as in National Iranian Oil Company. It was removed from the SDN list on October 16, 2014 pursuant to “Terms of Removal” with OFAC whereby the company agreed to expand its compliance programs as well as satisfy other unnamed conditions and reporting requirements.
While it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, the recent press release is a testament to the damage a designation can do to a business. Deutsche Forfait’s business volume in FY 2014 was €30.2 million, down from €532.4 million in FY 2013. That’s a 94% loss. According to the company “due to the listing, DF Group was virtually unable to perform business for most of the 2014 financial year.” They also posted a consolidated net loss of €15.5 million.
Their most recent corporate report, for Q3 2014, paints an equally bleak picture. Highlights include:
The company’s possibilities to make payments in currencies others than the USD (including the EUR) were restricted considerably, as many banks refused to make payments to or on behalf of an SDN-listed company
The company was virtually unable to sign up or execute new business
[The listing] caused its Group-wide day-to-day operations to come to an almost complete standstill throughout the reporting period.
Moral of the story: Even non-U.S. companies must take their compliance responsibilities seriously lest they end up like Deutsche Forfait.