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Posted November 29, 2011 by publisher in OFAC

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Commerzbank AG, the second largest bank in Germany, has agreed to pay more than $175,000 to settle violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations from 2005. 

The official Civil Penalties Release states that the New York Branch has settled Cuban Assets Control Regulations allegations by remitting $175,500 for apparent violations that occurred in September 2005.

The agreement covers allegations that Commerzbank, acting as an advising and confirming bank in connection with a letter of credit, presented four sets of trade documents, in which a Cuban Specially Designated National (“SDN”) had an interest, to the Miami branch of the foreign bank that issued the letter of credit, for payment in favor of a Canadian company. The aggregate value of the trade documents was $884,157.

Commerzbank did not voluntarily self-disclose the matter, and the alleged violations constituted a non-egregious case.

The base penalty amount for the alleged violations totaled $260,000. The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s consideration of the following facts and circumstances, pursuant to the General Factors under OFAC’s Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines: Commerzbank should have been aware of the prohibited Cuban interest, given that the trade documents contained repeated references to the SDN and its vessels; Commerzbank has undertaken remedial measures to strengthen its OFAC compliance program to ensure that such apparent violations do not recur in the future; and Commerzbank cooperated with OFAC’s investigation, including by agreeing to toll the statute of limitations.

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