Updated Guidelines on Suspicious Transactions Under U.S. Sanctions

06 March 2023
Ellina Izotkina
Konstantin Frogerts
Legal Trainee

New alert was released jointly by OFAC, BIS and DOJ on March 02, 2023 on suspicions third parties transactions under Ukraine-Russia restrictions. Another list of criteria was introduced that should help to identify and ‘aggressively prosecute’ those who violate U.S. sanctions and export control laws.

These criteria were firstly introduced by the FinCEN & BIS Joint Alert of June 28, 2022 and now are amended under evolving circumstances.

New common red flags which could be an indicator of U.S. sanctions violations are as follows:

  1. suspicious list of ‘transshipment points’ commonly used to illegally redirect restricted items to Russia or Belarus was expanded by Hong Kong, Macau and Uzbekistan, not excluding other States

  2. use of corporate vehicles, including shell companies and legal arrangements to obscure ownership or participating financial institutions, including payments coming from a third-party country not listed on the End-User Statement

  3. customer’s reluctance to share information about the end use of a product or to complete an end-user form or declining installation/maintenance of purchased items; as well as obscuring the ultimate customer standard letters of engagement

  4. transactions involving a change in shipments or payments that were previously scheduled for Russia as well as for Belarus; last-minute changes to shipping instructions that appear contrary to customer history or business practices

These circumstances, as indicated by the U.S. government bodies, should be carefully considered by business when following compliance controls and mitigate business partners risks.