International Sanctions and White Collar Criminal Defense

We counsel companies and individuals on a wide array of issues arising under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions programs, including both nation-based and conduct-based sanctions.

For more than a century, the United States has used trade restrictions on foreign nations and individuals to promote the foreign policy objectives of the United States. The task of implementing sanctions now falls to OFAC. Generally speaking, the President, in accordance with statute, will issue an Executive Order designating some country, company or individual as subject to sanctions. OFAC will then issue guidance with respect to the Executive Order and any Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs).  American entities are then prohibited from conducting business with those entities under most circumstances.

Although the sanctions prohibit American entities from engaging in commercial transactions with SDNs, they can have a much broader effect. Secondary sanctions apply to entirely non-U.S. entities operating completely outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.  Entities that deal with SDN’s can themselves become SDNs or Foreign Sanctions Evaders (FSE).  Once an entity is identified as a SDN or a FSE, Americans are prohibited from conducting business with that entity, as well.

We are experienced advisors on:

  • Compliance and general sanctions in connection with Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions programs, including both nation-based and conduct-based sanctions;
  • Obtaining special licenses and unfreezing assets;
  • Removal from “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDN) lists; and
  • Defense in civil and criminal sanctions enforcement actions.

In what are often related matters, we also have significant experience representing clients in international white collar criminal defense matters, including:
  • Alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA);
  • Investment frauds and schemes;
  • Money laundering;
  • Human trafficking; and 
  • Internal investigations.

  • Conducting an internal investigation for large multinational non-profit, identifying and remedying potential issues, and creating a compliance program.
  • Representing a Chinese national in an alleged industrial espionage case and obtaining dismissal of count related to Interstate theft of intellectual property.
  • Representing a NASA engineer in alleged software piracy case involving millions of dollars of loss; case resulted in a probationary sentence.
  • Representing a European company alleged to have violated consumer fraud statutes which, after extensive negotiations and changes to the company’s compliance program, resulted in a state decision not to pursue criminal charges.
  • Representing a government contractor detained at a military facility in Kabul and accused of diverting sensitive military equipment to the Taliban; the contractor was promptly released.
  • Representing a Middle Eastern corporation before the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and successfully obtaining removal of the company from SDN list.
  • Assisting American company in developing OFAC compliance program for operations in the Russian Federation and resolving banking issues involving the transfer of funds from certain Russian entities.
  • Representing a Russian executive of an international company in internal investigation undertaken by the corporation’s outside law firm and U.S. Department of Justice for violations of FCPA; no charges were filed.
  • Retention as an expert witness by a Russian law Firm to analyze OFAC sanctions as they apply to a substantial transfer of assets from one Russian bank to another.
  • Representing a Middle Eastern company in a civil fraud suit against an American company, with a trial that resulted in a verdict in excess of 2 million dollars for the client.