Evelyn Sheehan Points to a Possible Boost of U.S. Sanctions Enforcement in 2021 with Global Trade Review
January 14, 2021
Publication: Global Trade Review
As companies try to predict U.S. sanctions trends in 2021 by looking at enforcement activity last year, they may be tempted to see a downward trend. However, Kobre & Kim’s Evelyn Sheehan cautions against this conclusion when she sat down with Global Trade Review.
In 2020, the total value of settlements and fines paid to the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was US $23.6 million, significantly lower than the US $1.3 billion paid in 2019. However, Sheehan points out that companies should not interpret this as a deliberate policy decision, explaining, “It’s important to keep in mind that the total settlement amounts in previous years were largely influenced by a small number of massive settlements with large financial institutions.” Without them, the total amount in 2018 and 2019 would be similar to 2020.
The reason 2020 saw no high-value settlements may be due to “logistical complications” stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheehan reasons. The process leading up to large settlements involves lengthy investigations, significant remediation efforts and negotiations with OFAC, a process understandably slowed down by the pandemic.