Amazon Settlement Agreement Ofac

In August 2020, Amazon agreed to pay a $134,523 settlement to the U.S. Treasury Department`s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violating multiple sanctions programs.

The OFAC, which enforces economic sanctions against countries and individuals who pose a threat to American national security, found that Amazon had allowed individuals and entities subject to U.S. sanctions to use its platforms.

According to the OFAC, Amazon had failed to properly screen individuals and entities against the OFAC`s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) and other sanctions lists. This allowed for the transactions of goods and services to individuals and entities in sanctioned countries such as Iran, Syria, and Crimea.

While Amazon did not directly engage in any prohibited transactions, it had facilitated such transactions through its various platforms, including Amazon Web Services, Amazon Fulfillment, and Amazon Prime.

The settlement agreement serves as a reminder to companies of the importance of complying with OFAC sanctions programs. This includes implementing and maintaining a comprehensive sanctions compliance program, conducting regular risk assessments, and screening all customers and transactions against the SDN List and other sanctions lists.

Furthermore, companies should ensure that their employees are trained in OFAC compliance and that any potential violations are promptly reported to the appropriate authorities.

In a statement to the media, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company takes its sanctions compliance obligations seriously and has since implemented enhancements to its processes and systems to ensure compliance with the OFAC`s sanctions programs.

The OFAC settlement serves as a significant reminder that ignorance of sanctions laws is not an excuse for non-compliance. Companies must take proactive measures to ensure that their operations do not violate these laws and regulations. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines, loss of reputation, and other serious consequences.