KYC/CDD: OFAC adds more Iran-related sanctions


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Compliance professionals are well practiced in how to integrate their OFAC sanctions screening into their CDD/KYC solutions to track on the Iranian sanctions, and even though there has been improvement in relations between Iran and the West, longterm solutions remain elusive.

That fact was clear again Friday when the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced  that Morteza Tamaddon, an Iranian government official, has been added to OFAC’s sanctions list for his contributions to human rights abuses of Iranian citizens.

Additionally, the U.S. in late April heightened its sanctions efforts by sanctioning several Chinese companies tied to Li Fangwei and also adding to the sanctions list a Dubai-based company and Dubai executives. According to the U.S. government, these companies have been working with Iran to conduct trade of weapons and weapons technology, oil, and banking transactions.

The Departments of Treasury, State, and Justice also are offering a a $5million bounty for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Li Fangwei, aka Karl Lee, who the U.S. government alleges has worked to provide weapons to Iran.

Li is believed to have created various front companies and to be providing ballistic weapons technology to Iran and using his front companies to move millions of illicit dollars through U.S.-based financial institutions.

Financial institutions and business leaders have been following the U.S.-Iran relationship and have seen improvements but also renewed attention to sanctions. Analysts note that the Obama Administration has the challenge of moving forward with a better relationship with Iran while still holding up enforcement of its sanctions policy.

Because of his penchant for aliases and front companies, Li and others like him can provide challenges for financial institution’s KYC/CDD efforts, but use of KYC/CDD software solutions and integrated OFAC screening tools help greatly in meeting compliance requirements and satisfying U.S. regulations.