OFAC Penalty Against Ohio Bank May Signal Heightened Scrutiny of Sanctions Programs

By Brian Orsak

The U.S. Treasury Department penalized a Midwest bank $200,000 to settle charges that it violated prohibitions on doing business with Iranian banks and individuals. The department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. government's chief enforcer of economic sanctions, said that Key Bank National Association operated accounts for an entity and person in Iran. Nearly all financial dealings with Iran have been prohibited since 1996, when the U.S. government issued comprehensive sanctions on the country. OFAC, an organization that has focused largely on enforcement with merchants and other businesses, rarely penalizes banks for sanctions violations. But the penalty against the...