OFAC Matters

Attorney Bijan Sebastian Parwaresch is licensed to practice in federal court in Washington DC and routinely also handles OFAC matters.

Most OFAC matters can be handled administratively and Attorney Parwaresch has vast experience in delisting specially designated individuals and businesses located in the US or around the world.

As many individuals and business transactions are prohibited by OFAC, Mr. Parwaresch can apply for permission or if a violation has occurred appeal a denial.

If you or your company is dealing with or anticipating the needs of experienced and trustworthy navigation through the vast OFAC issues, please contact us below.

What is OFAC and what does it do?

The Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces economic sanctions programs primarily against countries and groups of individuals, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.

What does one mean by the term "prohibited transactions"?

Prohibited transactions are trade or financial transactions and other dealings in which U.S. persons may not engage unless authorized by OFAC or expressly exempted by statute. Because each program is based on different foreign policy and national security goals, prohibitions may vary between programs.

Are there exceptions to the prohibitions?

Yes. OFAC regulations often provide general licenses authorizing the performance of certain categories of transactions. OFAC also issues specific licenses on a case-by-case basis under certain limited situations and conditions. Guidance on how to request a specific license is found below and at 31 C.F.R. 501.801.

Can I get permission from OFAC to transact or trade with an embargoed country?

OFAC usually has the authority by means of a specific license to permit a person or entity to engage in a transaction which otherwise would be prohibited.

What do you mean by "blocking?"

Another word for it is "freezing." It is simply a way of controlling targeted property. Title to the blocked property remains with the target, but the exercise of powers and privileges normally associated with ownership is prohibited without authorization from OFAC.

Who must comply with OFAC regulations?

U.S. persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches. In the cases of certain programs, foreign subsidiaries owned or controlled by U.S. companies also must comply. Certain programs also require foreign persons in possession of U.S.-origin goods to comply.

I tried to ship a package and it was returned to me "due to OFAC sanctions." Why?

There may have been one or more reasons the package was rejected. For example, was it destined for Iran, Sudan or Cuba and lacking a description of the contents? Was it an unlicensed commercial shipment destined for Iran, Sudan or Cuba? Was it a personal gift destined for an individual in Iran or Sudan, with a stated value exceeding $100? These are legitimate reasons for shipping companies to refuse to process such packages. Not only could you be liable for attempting to send such packages, but the shipping companies also could be liable for their role in processing them.

Can I appeal a denial of my license application?

A denial by OFAC of a license application constitutes final agency action. The regulations do not provide for a formal process of appeal. However, OFAC will reconsider its determinations for good cause, for example, where the applicant can demonstrate changed circumstances or submit additional relevant information not previously made available to OFAC.