Vegas Woman Charged with Iran Sanctions Violations

A Las Vegas woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to export goods from the United States to Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations. According to the indictment unsealed recently, Tina Chen, 47 — aka Ya When Chen, Wen Tina Chen, Tina Dunbar, and Tina Dubner — is the owner of Top One Zone, LLC, a company exporting electronic and computer components that Chen operates from her residence. As alleged, from about November 2015 to May 2019, Chen conspired with others to buy and export goods from companies in the United States, and then send those goods to individuals in Iran through companies in Hong Kong. Chen concealed the identities of the end users, and she did not have a license from OFAC. Chen is charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully export goods to Iran.

According to the allegations in the indictment, Chen engaged in numerous overt acts of conspiracy including:

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Insight on Last 6 Months of Biden/Congress on Trade

A lot has happened in the first 6 months of the Biden administration. Notable developments include (at least temporary) resolutions in the large civil aircraft and digital service tax disputes, consensus around a global minimum corporate tax of 15%, lawsuits pertaining to Section 232, increased export controls enforcement, shifting U.S. policy stances on Cuba, and more. However, the most important developments pertain to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The U.S. and China are engaged in ongoing negotiations while tensions have risen, a lawsuit challenging Trump’s imposition of 301 tariffs are underway, and a massive U.S. competitiveness bill is being considered in Congress that could bring back broad China tariff exclusions. Join us for a jam-packed hour where we discuss everything that has happened in the world of U.S. trade policy over the past 6 months, and provide insight into how Biden’s trade policies affect industry.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Filing a Commodity Jurisdiction Request

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

An Introduction to Export Controls

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Conflicting U.S. & EU Sanctions Policies Towards Iran

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Background on U.S. Sanctions Programs

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) administers a number of different sanctions programs. The purpose of U.S. sanctions programs is to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives and protect national security. Currently, OFAC administers 35 sanctions programs. These sanctions programs vary widely – some are comprehensive while others are highly selective.

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OFAC Sanctions & Licensing

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Background on U.S. Sanctions (as of May, 2021)

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) administers a number of different sanctions programs. The purpose of U.S. sanctions programs is to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives and protect national security. Currently, OFAC administers 35 sanctions programs. These sanctions programs vary widely – some are comprehensive while others are highly selective.

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The CAPTA List – An Introduction

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

What’s the CAPTA List?

The Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions List (“CAPTA” List”) is a list maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). The CAPTA List identifies foreign financial institutions that are prohibited or in some way restricted from maintaining a correspondent account or a payable-through account in the United States.

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Building a Strong Export Compliance Plan

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Exporting is a Privilege, Not a Right

Over 95% of the world’s consumers are outside of the United States. Opportunities abound for U.S. companies that export. However, exporting is a privilege and not a right. U.S. exporters have an important responsibility to adhere to U.S. export control laws, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions laws, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). Violations of export control laws carry hefty civil and criminal penalties. Exporters can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties, lose export privileges, and even be imprisoned for violations of U.S. export control laws.

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Commerce Department Issues Rule Securing Digital Supply Chains Against Foreign Adversaries

NIST Releases Draft Guidance on Internet of Things Device Cybersecurity | NIST

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Background on Securing Information Technology & Communications Supply Chains

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Treasury Imposes Further Sanctions on Iran

Co-Authored by Sharath Patil

Background on Iran Sanctions 

The United States has imposed restrictions on activities with Iran under various legal authorities since 1979, following the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran following the Iranian Revolution. In October 2015, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia, as well as Germany (known collectively as the P5 +1) met with Iran and successfully negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). Pursuant to the JCPOA, Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. According to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, the JCPOA would result in “the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.” The few years of decreased economic sanctions towards Iran came to an end in May 2018 when the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA. The return of increased U.S. sanctions towards Iran came into effect in November 2018.

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