French Bank to Pay $8.6 Million to Settle Syria Sanctions Case
05 Jan 2021

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed an $8.6 million fine on a French bank that officials said processed payments for blacklisted Syrian financial institutions.

Union de Banques Arabes et Françaises SA, a Paris-based bank that facilitates trade finance between Europe and the Middle East, Africa and Asia, agreed to pay the fine to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of U.S. sanctions against Syria, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said Monday.

The majority of UBAF’s violations occurred in late 2011 following an executive order that significantly expanded U.S. sanctions against Syria, and pertained to the processing of internal transfers on behalf of Syrian entities that were followed by corresponding funds transfers through a U.S. bank, OFAC said.

UBAF ultimately processed 127 transactions, totaling $2.08 billion, in apparent violation of the executive order, according to OFAC.

The sanctions watchdog in an enforcement summary Monday said the apparent violations demonstrated UBAF’s “reckless disregard” for its compliance obligations, and warned other financial institutions to be wary of continuing to process U.S. dollar-denominated transactions for entities located in countries that come under comprehensive U.S. sanctions.

By Dylan Tokar, The Wall Street Journal, 4 January 2021

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Read OFAC’s enforcement action here

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