On 27 August, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) announced that Branch Banking & Trust Co. (“BB&T”), a North Carolina banking organisation, had paid $19,125 to settle potential liability for an apparent violation of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations. OFAC states that BB&T had flagged a funds transfer of $20,000 on behalf of customer to a third-country account in the name of person that appeared to match an entry on the Specially Designated Nationals (“SDN”) List. Upon investigation, a BB&T compliance specialist determined that there was not a match with the SDN List and processed the transaction. Afterwards, BB&T’s customer informed the bank that the individual referenced in the payment details is located in Omdurman, Sudan, and the payment to the third-country bank account was for merchandise being shipped to Sudan.
In determining the settlement amount, OFAC found that the apparent violation was not voluntarily disclosed but constituted a non-egregious case. OFAC considered that BB&T was aware of the conduct that gave rise to the apparent violation, that BB&T had an inadequate screening process, that BB&T is a large and sophisticated financial institution, and that BB&T failed to provide all responsive records to OFAC’s administrative subpoena. Mitigating these considerations, OFAC also found that there was no actual harm to the sanctions programme because another financial institution rejected the transaction, that BB&T has not received a penalty notice from OFAC in the last 5 years and that BB&T took appropriate remedial action in response to the apparent violation.