All notes/news on this site are not to be taken as complete answers or as legal advice. They are intended to be generally informative but are not intended to be full considerations of the respective matters. Legal advice will differ, depending on the individual circumstances of the people or entities involved, and all notes/news may be out of date or inaccurate at any given time.

Some later Law Notes will deal with selected areas affected by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions. In the beginning it is most important simply to be aware of the sanctions in connection with any business with the named regions, countries, or groups, because the penalties for violating the applicable laws and regulations are severe. They can cripple or destroy a business entity and have a profound effect on individuals' lives and finances.

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control implements financial sanctions on persons and countries as determined from time to time by that Department, often in collaboration with another department of the US government.  These sanctions can be broad-based, as in the case of Cuba (prohibiting the carrying on of business with Cuban entities and persons worldwide), or more targeted (for example, the Magnitsky Sanctions), which target specific groups or individuals. 

As of May, 2014, there were OFAC embargoes in effect concerning the following (please see the OFAC website for a current list and details):

    • Balkans-related
    • Belarus
    • Burma
    • Central African Republic
    • Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)-related sanctions    
    • Counter Narcotics Trafficking
    • Counter Terrorism
    • Cuba
    • Democratic Republic of the Congo-related sanctions
    • Iran
    • Iraq-related sanctions
    • Lebanon-related sanctions
    • Former Liberian Regime of Charles Taylor
    • Libya
    • Magnitsky
    • Non-Proliferation
    • North Korea
    • Rough Diamond Trade controls
    • Somalia
    • Sudan
    • South Sudan-related sanctions
    • Syria
    • Transnational criminal Organizations
    • Ukraine-related sanctions
    • Yemen-related sanctions
    • Zimbabwe

Some of these have a considerable reach, and some are very tightly targeted.  Anyone dealing directly with Iran, Libya, Syria, or any of the other countries or groups on the list should consult an export professional.