Challenging OFAC Sanctions And Civil Penalties In US Courts
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has near-plenary authority to impose the so-called economic death penalty, by adding foreign persons and entities to, among others, its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, or SDN list. This power continues to grow. In 2019, President Donald Trump created new grounds, whereby one can be listed by OFAC in connection with the agency’s programs of sanctions related to regimes in Venezuela, Russia and Iran.
Concomitantly, legislators in Colombia are discussing bills on creating what amounts to an SDN list equivalent for that country. On the other side of the world, China has announced its own plans to publish a list of designated “unreliable entities,” one that will encompass foreign companies, organizations and individuals that pose a national security risk to China, or have “severely damaged the legitimate interests” of Chinese firms by failing to obey market rules, or by blocking or cutting off supplies for “noncommercial” (i.e., political) reasons.