Archive for the ‘UAE’ Category

Company Fined $162K for Antiboycott Violations

Thursday, March 30th, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

The Office of Antiboycott Compliance, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has charged Pelco Inc. (Pelco) with 66 violations. Between May 2011 and January 2016 it was found that on 32 occasions Pelco was engaged in transactions involving the sale/transfer of goods and services from the US to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the US (Section 760.1(d)). In connection with these transactions, Pelco, with intent to comply with, further supported an unsanctioned foreign boycott by agreeing to refuse to do business with another person (prohibited by Section 760.2(a)).

In addition to those 32 charges, Pelco was charged with 34 violations of “Failing to Report the Receipt of a Request to Engage in a Restrictive Trade Practice or Foreign Boycott Against a Country Friendly to the US” (Section 760.5). This is not surprising, a company who agrees to an illegal boycott is not likely to report said boycott.

Pelco will pay $162K to settle the violations and will not be debarred as long as the settlement amount it paid.

Charging Letter: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/antiboycott/alleged-antiboycott-violations-2015/1100-a749/file

U.S. Antiboycott Compliance: New Federal List Published

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 by Danielle McClellan

By: Melissa Proctor, Polsinelli PC

Companies doing business in the Middle East take note: The Treasury Department recently published its quarterly list of countries that currently require participation or cooperation with an international boycott, such as the Arab League‘s boycott of Israel.

Even though many of these countries are WTO members and were required to shut down their Arab League offices as a condition of membership, many boycott-related requests are still being issued by government agencies and companies in these countries. The countries that are designated on this list, which by the way are the very same countries that were listed in the Third Quarter list, are:

  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

To view the list, click here.

If you are not familiar with U.S. antiboycott requirements, Part 750 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) prohibits U.S. companies and their foreign affiliates from complying with requests related to a foreign boycott that is not sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Specifically, U.S. companies and their overseas affiliates are prohibited from agreeing to:

  1. Refuse to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies
  2. Discriminate against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin or nationality
  3. Furnish information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies, or
  4. Furnish information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person

Foreign boycott-related requests can take many forms, and can be either verbal or written. They can appear in bid invitations, purchase agreements, letters of credit and can even be seen in emails, telephone conversations and in-person meetings. Some recent examples of boycott-related requests include:

  • “Provide a certificate of origin stating that your goods are not products of Israel.”
  • “Provide the religion and nationality of your officers and board members.” 
  • “Suppliers cannot be on the Israel boycott list published by the central Arab League.”  
  • “Provide a signed statement from the shipping company or its agent containing the name, flag and nationality of the carrying vessel and its eligibility to enter Arab ports “

In addition, implementing letters of credit that contain foreign boycott terms or conditions is also prohibited under the EAR.

Antiboycott compliance is a key issue for U.S. companies doing business in the Middle East, and personnel on the front lines with customers and supply chain partners in these countries should be trained to identify potential foreign boycott-related requests and escalate them to senior compliance personnel or in-house counsel to determine the applicable OAC and IRS reporting requirements.

Companies that receive boycott-related requests must submit quarterly reports to the Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC) unless an exemption applies. Failing to timely report a boycott request or complying with the request itself can lead to the imposition of civil penalties by the OAC. The IRS also requires U.S. taxpayers to report their operations in countries that require participation or cooperation with an international boycott on IRS Form 5713 (International Boycott Report) – the forms are submitted annually with U.S. tax returns.  Failure to comply with the Internal Revenue Code’s antiboycott requirements can lead to the revocation of certain international tax credits and benefits.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in California

Antiboycott Violation Nets $238,000 Fine for Furnishing Prohibited Business Information

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Coty Middle East FZCO (UAE) has agreed to pay $238,000 to settle 70 violations of 15 CFR §760.2(d) – Furnishing Information about Business Relationships with Boycotted Countries or Blacklisted Persons.

Coty Middle East FZCO is a foreign affiliate of Coty Inc., a US company located in Delaware thus are they are defined as a US person under 760.1(b) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). From 2009-2013 Coty Middle East engaged in transactions involving the sale and/or transfer of goods or services from the US to Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, and Yemen, activities in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States. In connection with these activities Coty Middle East furnished the following statement 70 times:  “WE HEREBY CERTIFY…. THAT ABOVE MENTIONED GOODS DO NOT CONTAIN ANY MATERIAL OF ISRAEL ORIGIN…”

View Order: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/antiboycott/alleged-antiboycott-violations-2015/1083-a748/file

3 Men & Illegal Exports to Syria

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

In November 2012, three individuals and one company were indicted with charges of criminal conspiracy, wire fraud, illegal export of goods, money laundering, and false statements. Until now the indictment remained under seal pending the arrest of the defendants.

Between 2003 and 2012, d-Deri Contracting & Trading (owned by Ahmad Feras Diri of London) was exporting goods originally from the US from Global Parts Supply (owned by Harold Rinko of Hallstead, PA) to his brother and business partner Moawea Deri who was located in Syria.  The goods purchased from Rinko’s US company were done so based on false invoices, undervalued and mislabeled goods.  Then the purchased goods were exported by falsely listing their identity and final geographic location on all documentation. The items would be shipped from the US to Jordan, the UAE, and the UK, and finally transshipped to Syria.

The items exported allegedly included:

  • a portable gas scanner used for detection of chemical warfare agents by civil defense, military, police and border control agencies;
  • a handheld instrument for field detection and classification of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals;
  • a laboratory source for detection of chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals in research, public safety and industrial environments;
  • a rubber mask for civil defense against chemicals and gases;
  • a meter used to measure chemicals and their composition;
  • flowmeters for measuring gas streams;
  • a stirrer for mixing and testing liquid chemical compounds;
  • industrial engines for use in oil and gas field operations and a device used to accurately locate buried pipelines

Note: Nearly all exports to Syria will be denied, other than a few items categorized under humanitarian food and medicine. The goal of the embargo on Syria is to shut down the supply chain used by the Syrian state to support terrorism and create proliferate weapons of mass destruction, and in this specific case, chemical weapons.

Fast forward to this month, Ahmad Feras Diri (age 43) of London has plead guilty to conspiracy to illegally export items used to detect chemical warfare agents to Syria. He lost his extradition fight in the UK in November 2015 at which point he was brought to the US to face the charges. Diri admitted that he conspired to export items from the US through third party countries to customers in Syria without obtaining the required US Commerce Department licenses.

Harold Rinko (age 73 of Hallstead, PA) was indicted by a grand jury in November 2012 and admitted in court that he conspired to export the items from the US through third party countries to customers in Syria without an export license.

Moawea Deri remains at large and is considered a fugitive but will likely remain in Syria as extradition is unlikely to occur.

“This extradition demonstrates HSI’s commitment to use all its resources to prevent sensitive and restricted technology from being exported to Syria through the black market,” said HSI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan. “No good comes of illegal exports to Syria, especially during this time of gross misgovernment and civil strife. As the principal enforcer of export controls, HSI will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that sensitive technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in Syria. I applaud our colleagues at the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, along with our law enforcement counterparts in the United Kingdom. This coordinated effort helped us make this complex investigation a success.”

More Information: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/uk-resident-connected-syrian-export-scheme-extradited-us-face-federal-charges

It Never Pays to Use Your Church to Cover Your Export Violations

Thursday, May 5th, 2016 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

What does a system analyst for a defense contractor, a church volunteer and an owner of 3 US companies all have in common?  They all involve one woman, who will now spend 57 months in prison, encompassed each, and all at the same time. Hannah Robert, of North Burnswick, New Jersey recently plead guilty to conspiring to violate the Arms Export Act by exporting military technical drawings to India without government approval.

The story begins with Robert being an employee for a defense contractor where she worked as a system analyst and had access to thousands of export controlled drawings that were used for bids on US Department of Defense (DoD) contracts (Robert held this position until November 2012). In June 2010, she became the founder, owner and president of One Source USA LLC where she contracted with the DoD to supply defense hardware items and spare parts. In September 2012, Robert opened another defense company, Caldwell Components, Inc. as well as Once Source India (located in India), with a resident of India (identified on as R.P. in court documents) that manufactured defense hardware items and spare parts.

Between June 2010 and December 2012 Robert illegally exported defense technical drawings for parts used in the torpedo systems for nuclear submarines, military attack helicopters and F-15 fighter aircraft to R.P. in India. Robert and her India counterpart also sold defense hardware items to foreign customers including the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence. Hannah Robert volunteered at a church in Camden County, New Jersey, as a web administrator. This allowed her access to the church’s website where she uploaded the defense technical data. She provided her login and password to the church’s website to R.P. so that he/she could download the files. This process went on for two years and was the way in which Robert and R.P. were able to pass the technical information amongst themselves.

Hannah Robert was also faced with the issue of providing US DoD with faulty wing pins for the F-15 fighter aircraft. Robert provided false and misleading material certificates and inspection reports for the parts. The documents also failed to list that the actual manufacturer of the pins was located in India, not One Source USA’s New Jersey location which was listed on all of her DoD bids. The failed wing pins grounded approximately 47 F-15 fighter aircraft and cost DoD over $150,000 to inspect and repair the pins. Robert must pay $181,000 to the DoD to cover the repair costs as well as forfeiting more than $77,000 that she earned from the contracts.

The case was investigated by the special agents of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s Northeast Field Office and the special agents of the Department of Homeland Security’s Counter Proliferation Investigations.

More Information: https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/pr/former-owner-defense-contracting-businesses-sentenced-57-months-prison-illegally

Companies Fined a Combined $61K for Antiboycott Violations

Thursday, November 5th, 2015 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Vinmar International, Ltd of Houston, TX will pay $19,800 to settle alleged antiboycott violations. Between January 2011 and February 2012, on two separate occasions, Vinmar provided information concerning another person’s business relationships with another person who is known or believed to be restricted from having any business relationship with or in a boycotting country (15 CFR 760.2(d)). In connection with these violations, Vinmar failed to report the receipt of a request to engage in a restrictive trade practice or Foreign Boycott against a country friendly to the US on five occasions (15 CFR 760.5). Below is a schedule of the violations.

An affiliate of Vinmar International, Ltd., Vinmar Overseas, Ltd. was charged with a total of 13 antiboycott violations with a total penalty of $41,400. On 5 separate occasions in 2009 the company violated 15 CFR 760.2(d) when they furnished information concerning another person’s business relationships with another person who is known or believed to be restricted from having any business relationship with or in a boycotting country. On 8 other instances the company violated 15 CFR 760.5 when they failed to report their receipts of requests to engage in a restrictive trade practice or boycott, as required by the Regulations. Below is a schedule of Vinmar Overseas, Ltd. violations.

Vinmar International, Ltd. Charging Letter

Vinmar Overseas, Ltd. Charging Letter

Need an Antiboycott refresher? Check out ECTI’s On Demand webinar, US Antiboycott Regulations: Clarified and Demystified!

If OFAC Denies Your License Application…Stop!

Friday, September 11th, 2015 by Danielle McClellan

By: Danielle McClellan

Great Plains Stainless Co. (GPS) of Tulsa, Oklahoma has agreed to pay $214,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) regulations in 2009. GPS sold goods that its Chinese vendor shipped from Shanghai to GPS’s customer in Dubai via MN Sahand, a vessel that is considered blocked property (EO 13382). GPS also created new bogus trade documents, with references to the blocked vessel to be removed and then transferred these altered documents to its Dubai customer to facilitate the release of the goods that were held at the port in Dubai.

GPS did not voluntarily disclose these violations to OFAC, the maximum penalty could have been $500,000. The settlement amount is reflective of the following:

  • GPS acted willfully since they altered the bill of lading
  • They disregarded verbal and written guidance from OFAC stating that the company should consult with OFAC’s Licensing Division before engaging in the transaction
  • GPS had submitted a license application to OFAC seeking authorization for this transaction and was denied but followed thru with the transaction
  • They did not have a compliance program in place at the time of the alleged violations.
  • The company has not received a penalty notice or Finding of Violation from OFAC in the past five years
  • GPS had no reason to know that the blocked vessel was to be used for the shipment until the vessel’s sailing date
  • They are a small company
  • GPS took remedial measures to prevent future violations

Read the full document at: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20150724_gps.pdf

BIS Settles with Ansell and Comasec for Attempted Transshipment of Industrial-Strength Gloves to Iran through UAE

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 by Brooke Driver

By: Brooke Driver

Well, folks, here’s yet another case of the consequences of defying U.S. embargoes. BIS has announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Ansell Protective Products Inc. of New Jersey and Comasec of Gennevilliers, France. Specifically, Ansell was charged with two counts of engaging in prohibited conduct by exporting items to Iran without the required license and two counts of evasion, while Comasec was charged with two counts of causing, aiding or abetting and two counts of evasion. Between June 27, 2008 and September 19, 2008, Ansell entered into business with French company Comasec SAS and agreed to export 35,000 pairs of Nitrotough N115 and Blue Nitrile industrial-strength gloves with a total value of $43,500 to Comasec’s client Zhabeh Safety Co. of Tehran, Iran. To avoid the U.S. embargo, Ansell and Comasec chose to first ship the items to the UAE, where they would then be transferred to their final destination in Iran. The scheme was thwarted in March of 2009, when the violation was discovered and the items seized by CBP.

The two companies were certainly smart to settle, rather than go to court over these charges, as the investigation had uncovered a significant amount of evidence of both companies’ conscious efforts to continue with the transaction despite the U.S. sanction. The evidence ranged from invoices that explicitly stated the end user’s location in Iran to emails between Ansell and Comasec expressing their knowledge of the U.S. embargo against Iran and detailing their plan for avoiding the restrictive U.S. law. Considering the amount and gravity of the evidence, in fact, BIS’ settlement of a $190,000 fine for each company is surprisingly lenient.

Of course, the relatively low value of the items involved certainly played a role in determining the appropriate payment, but Ansell’s and Comasec’s blatant disregard for U.S. regulations seems to merit a more severe consequence. All the same, the case certainly proves the point yet again that it is never worth the cost to engage in business with an embargoed country and that BIS is cracking down on those that do.

Network Hardware Resale to Pay $262,000 for Illegal Transshipments to Iran, Syria and Sudan

Friday, October 25th, 2013 by Brooke Driver

By: Brooke Driver

Assistant Secretary David Mills of BIS, who will speak at ECTI’s upcoming Advanced Issues in Export Controls Workshop, approved a settlement with Network Hardware Resale of Santa Barbara, California on September 13, 2013. The California company allegedly committed 16 violations of the EAR, all of which are related to illegal reexporting to embargoed countries.

Twice between the dates of October 27, 2009 and January 6, 2011, NHR reexported through Finland and the United Arab Emirates U.S.-origin networking equipment and related accessories from its Amsterdam branch to Iran, thereby violating the Iranian Transactions Regulations. These shipments valued at $21,798.

Seven times between December 19, 2007 and December 22, 2010, the Amsterdam office reexported these same products, this time valued at $17,001, to Syria through the United Arab Emirates. NHR is also charged with seven instances—occurring between the dates of May 29, 2008 and May 3, 2010—of illegally reexporting the aforementioned products to Sudan at a total value of $114,151.

BIS has required that, as restitution for these violations, Network Hardware Resale pays a fine of $262,000 within 30 days of the settlement agreement.

Stanley Drilling to Pay $84,240 for Shipments to UAE Destined to Iran

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 by Brooke Driver

By: Brooke Driver

The Houston-based drilling company Stanley Drilling Equipment & Supply, Inc. agreed to settle with the Office of Foreign Assets Control for $84,240 on July 19 for alleged violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. According to OFAC, between the dates of June 16, 2008 and October 17, 2008, Stanley Drilling attempted to export six shipments of goods to the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that it had reason to believe that the shipments were intended for supply, transshipment, or reexportation to an oil drilling rig located in Iranian waters. Supposedly, two of the six shipments were made successfully, containing goods valued at $93,329. The base penalty for these violations is $156,000, but thankfully (for Stanley Drilling), OFAC significantly reduced this amount. The organization arrived at the proposed settlement based on the facts that:

  • Stanley Drilling did not have an OFAC-specific compliance program in place
  • The two successful transactions were especially harmful to U.S. sanction objectives, as they increased Iranian petroleum resources
  • The majority of attempted transactions were unsuccessful
  • It appears that the company had no actual knowledge of the violations
  • Stanley Drilling is a small company with no prior OFAC violations

So what have we learned, students? What you don’t know can definitely hurt you!

Do your homework! Be sure to research potential clients. In this case, OFAC emphasized that, while Stanley Drilling seems to have been unaware of its products’ eventual destination, information about the rig’s location was publicly available at the time of the violations. In other words, you will be held responsible for information you could have known, whether you actually knew it or not, so be vigilant about whom you choose as a business partner. Information that is publicly available will be considered to be part of your knowledge.

And, when dealing with known diversion points such as the UAE, please exercise paranoia!