Potential benefits of cooperation with the OFAC (Part 1)

Companies that cooperate with the OFAC can avoid penalties that carry severe consequences

Recent settlements in civil enforcement proceedings brought by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) suggest that cover-ups, not crimes, may invite the stiffest penalties. Frequently, companies that cooperate with OFAC investigations, admit wrongdoing and take remedial actions to prevent future violations escape the enforcement process with mild punishments. Indeed, even companies that eventually cooperate after some initial resistance fare well in OFAC’s administrative enforcement process and often avoid criminal penalties altogether — penalties that, aside from the reputational damage, carry much more severe consequences, including prison time for individuals and massive financial impact.

Thus, it is useful for practitioners to understand the OFAC cooperation process. Stated simply, cooperation often yields leniency, and practitioners need to understand how to navigate the process in order to provide their clients with a comprehensive set of options for dealing with a potential sanctions violation. And even for violators who — whether or not they choose to cooperate with OFAC — become the targets of criminal investigations, the administrative penalties dispensed by OFAC provide an important comparison that defense attorneys should use while trying obtain the lowest possible sentence for their clients.

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Stephen A. Miller

Stephen A. Miller practices in the commercial litigation group at Cozen O'Connor's Philadelphia office. Prior to joining Cozen O'Connor, he clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia...

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Matthew A. Glazer

Matthew A. Glazer practices in the commercial litigation group at Cozen O'Connor's Philadelphia office. Mr. Glazer served as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia for...

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Jeffrey M. Monhait

Jeffrey M. Monhait practices in the commercial litigation group at Cozen O'Connor's Philadelphia office. Mr. Monhait graduated from Haverford College and Harvard Law School.

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