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United States v. Barclays Bank
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the United States government (plaintiff) placed economic sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma (the sanctioned countries). Regulations imposed by the OFAC with regard to the sanctions forbade banks from transacting with the sanctioned countries. From the 1990s to 2006, Barclays Bank (Barclays) (defendant), a bank organized under the laws of England and Wales with a branch in New York, processed payments made by the sanctioned countries and hid the payments from its New York branch by amending payment messages to remove the names of the sanctioned countries. Though the instructions to hide the payments came from outside the United States, Barclays’s actions caused the New York branch to process payments made by the sanctioned countries. This resulted in the New York branch violating economic sanctions, prevented the New York branch from complying with filing requirements imposed by the OFAC and the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, and caused the New York branch to record false information. In 2006, after an internal investigation revealed the transactions to Barclays’s senior management, Barclays voluntarily disclosed its transactions with the sanctioned countries to the United States government. The government charged Barclays with violating economic sanctions by knowingly causing the New York branch to transact with the sanctioned countries. The government and Barclays entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement, which required Barclays to improve its sanctions-compliance programs by hiring additional compliance officers, enhancing its internal review processes, conducting more frequent audits, and providing sanction-specific compliance training to many of its employees.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
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