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Considerations for those Seeking Removal From the OFAC SDN List
May 29, 2012 I have been on a roll lately with posts regarding seeking a reconsideration of a designation as a Specially Designated National (SDN) by the United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), so I thought I would continue the trend with some considerations for those seeking to a removal from the list of OFAC SDNs. 1. Consider the target's connections. Why was the party designated in the first place? Look closely at the business and personal relationships of the designated parties. Are there any connections to parties engaged in activities which the United States may find to be nefarious or criminal in nature? For example, familial relationships, business partnerships, the provision of services, etc. can all lead to an OFAC SDN designation. As such, the designated party should cut off those connections which may have caused its designation in the first place as part of the reconsideration process. 2. All about the money trail. I have said this time and time again, and it is kind of obvious, but OFAC's concern is primarily financial. Whether its protecting the U.S. financial system from unlawful proceeds by designating those they believe to be engaged in illicit activity, or considering removal of such designations, OFAC needs to feel comfortable that the stream of money is from lawful sources. As such, it makes sense to detail and document for OFAC the manner in which a designated parties' financial state came to be. This can include providing information on current financial assets and accounts, as well as information concerning employment history. 3. Focus on Remediation. The regulations which allows for reconsideration of an SDN designation, state that evidence and arguments can be provided in order to show either a case of mistaken identity or a change in the circumstances. As such, those seeking reconsideration of a designation should focus on what changes they have made since the time of designation to assure OFAC that they are not engaged in any nefarious activity. Although, the information provided in this posting may offer some helpful considerations, the SDN reconsideration process is long and complex. As such, it does make sense to retain experienced counsel to serve as a guide through the process. The author of this article is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in OFAC matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or ferrari@ferrari-legal.com.