Throughout 2023, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (“NSD”), the Department of Commerce’s Burau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), and the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) have implemented aggressive measures to fight Sanctions evasion schemes. For instance, NSD appointed a Chief Counsel for Corporate Enforcement and added twenty-five new prosecutors to address sanctions evasion, export control violations, and similar economic crimes. BIS’s Office of Export Enforcement implemented a new “dual-track system” to prioritize resolutions and investigations in matters involving export control evasion. OFAC has designated over 300 individuals and companies, with touchpoints in more than 20 jurisdictions, in an effort to deter circumvention of Sanctions.
Most recently, NSD, BIS, and OFAC published a Tri-Seal Compliance Note (the “Compliance Note”) on the Voluntary Self-Disclosure of Potential Violations (“VSD”) of Sanctions, export controls, and national security laws. In this Compliance Note, NSD encourages companies to promptly disclose potential criminal violations of U.S. sanctions and export control laws. More specifically, companies may avoid criminal liability by voluntarily self-disclosing potential violations, sharing all relevant non-privileged facts, providing NSD timely access to material documents and information, and by effectively remediating any compliance deficiencies and implementing a robust compliance and ethics program. This enforcement policy extends to other corporate crimes related to national security, including laws against terrorist financing, and potential violations of the regulations administered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.