Top Sanctions Official Says Pace To Continue

The Wall Street Journal on March 19, 2012 released the following:

“By Samuel Rubenfeld

The pace of sanctions announcements will continue, a top Obama administration official said.

Adam Szubin, director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said Monday at a conference of anti-money laundering industry officials that Iran and Syria will be the focus as the year goes on, with emphasis on the international dimensions on key measures.

He said OFAC is also looking at legislation emerging from Congress on Iran and Syria, and how the office would implement it.

Szubin’s remarks opened the 17th Annual International Anti-Money Laundering Conference in Hollywood, Fla.

He said the practice by financial institutions of “stripping data and routing transactions on behalf of sanctioned parties” has mostly abated, saying that is a result of a slew of enforcement actions and because the industry decided doing it isn’t consistent with best practices.

“This is not to say there won’t be any more cases announced because we take this conduct very seriously and where we have cases we will pursue them, but the issue is mostly closed,” Szubin said.

Reviewing the past 16 months of sanctions, Szubin said a month hasn’t gone by when OFAC hasn’t make a major announcement such as expanding regulations, or implementing and dismantling an entire sanctions program, as the office did on Libya.

He said the Libya program, which found $30 billion in a matter of hours, was among the most gratifying things he’s ever done.”

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