The Office of Inspector General at the Treasury Department this year plans to investigate how well the Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC, is enforcing Trump administration sanctions against Cuba.
The OIG reported:
Since 1960, the United States has maintained an embargo restricting trade, travel, and financial transactions with Cuba. This embargo comprises the most comprehensive set of economic and trade sanctions implemented on any country. The United States holds billions of dollars in financial claims against the Cuban government. In November 2017, the President announced additional sanctions and travel restrictions on Cuba, re-tightening some of the sanctions on Cuba loosened by the previous administration.
We plan to determine whether changes made by OFAC to the Cuban sanctions program
- reflect administration policy changes designed to strengthen sanctions against Cuba and
- were properly documented and approved by appropriate OFAC officials.
The Inspector General also plans an investigation of OFAC’s oversight of financial institutions. The agency reported:
In 2011, JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. agreed to remit $88.3 million to settle potential civil liability for apparent violations of multiple OFAC sanctions programs. According to Treasury’s website, the bank violated the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions, the “Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters” (EO 13382), the Iranian Transactions Regulations, and other sanctions programs. The violations occurred during 2005 through 2011. In a January 2014 consent order for the assessment of a civil money penalty, OCC cited the bank for inadequate testing of OFAC compliance.
We plan to assess OFAC and OCC oversight of financial institutions’ compliance with sanctions programs.