http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/lactalis-sorrento-cheese-pays-20k-fine-to-settle-ofac-sanctions-violations/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Lactalis (Sorrento cheese) pays $20k fine to settle Cuba sanctions violations

Posted February 27, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

This is by far the shortest OFAC civil penalties report that we have seen in the many years that we have been covering them.

Today there was only ONE entry. This civil penalties report covers violations of all sanctions against Iran and other countries as well as violations by individuals. We noted in our last OFAC civil penalties report that there were no violations of Cuba sanctions but there were violations of other sanctions. In the past, individuals are fined for purchasing Cuban cigars over the Internet.

Perhaps the slow down in violations is simply due to the transition from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration. So, it will be interesting to see what the next civil penalties report brings us. For the record, the Havana Journal stands against the US trade and travel Embargo against Cuba and think such fines are unnecessary and detrimental to US businesses and citizens.

So, here’s the ONLY violation from today’s OFAC civil penalties report:

Lactalis USA, Inc. Settles Cuban Assets Control Regulations Allegations:

Lactalis USA, Inc., New York (“Lactalis”), has remitted $20,950.38 to settle allegations of violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.

OFAC alleged that, between February 2004 and March 2007, Lactalis made six unlicensed wire transfer payments in which Cuba or Cuban nationals had an interest.

Lactalis did not voluntarily disclose this matter to OFAC.

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Lactalis American Group is the North American division of Groupe Lactalis, the world’s second largest dairy corporation.

They are the parent company of Sorrento Lactalis, Lactalis USA, and Mozzarella Fresca, which collectively include some of North America’s most popular cheese brands such as Président, Sorrento, Precious, rondelé, and Galbani.

Member Comments

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On February 27, 2009, abh wrote:

I bet Lactalis is PISSED that they might be the last company ever to get fined.  It looks like they withdrew the funding for the fines.  I think it’s Serrano, from NY, who’s now the head of the congressional committe that oversees it, and he said they wont fund that dept any more.
Its about time, for god sake.

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On February 27, 2009, publisher wrote:

What do you mean they withdrew the funding for the fines?

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On February 27, 2009, abh wrote:

Well now I can’t find the article, but I swear I read it in a legit news article in the last 2 or 3 days.  Serrano is the head of an influential congressional committe that oversees fines…im thinking maybe its just the personal travel fines though.  So that would be different from OFAC.
Hopefully I wasnt being misleading, Im just very happy that people shouldnt be getting fined anymore for traveling.  At least that was my take from the story.  I’ll try to find it and post it…

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On February 27, 2009, publisher wrote:

no problem. There are many bills in Congress right now.

I’ll be in Washington next week and will get updates.

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On March 11, 2009, publisher wrote:

Here is the view from Granma

Obama government fines company for links with Havana

DESPITE all the pressure to change the blockade’s restrictions on trade, maintained against Cuba for half a century, the U.S. agency charged with harassing Cuba’s suppliers has just levied a $20,950 fine on Lactalis USA, a U.S. affiliate of the French giant Lactalis.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed the fine on the cheese and dairy company for violating blockade regulations by “making electronic financial transactions in which Cuba or a Cuban citizen had an interest” between February 2004 and March 2007, according to media reports in Miami, Florida.

It is the first fine imposed by the Treasury Department on a company for ties to Cuba since President Barack Obama took power, and it reaffirms the policy of blockading the island.

On January 16, the OFAC issued “legal clarifications” that tightened even further restrictions on travel by people from the United States to Cuba, affecting U.S. companies that provide charter flights, book travel or send remittances.

The measures announced four days after Obama was sworn in as president were interpreted at the time as the result of resistance by recalcitrant “Bush cronies,” officials who were not happy about the change in administration.

The OFAC is just one element of the enormous mechanism of aggression implemented against Havana by successive U.S. administrations. Thanks to this agency, the Treasury Department spies on U.S. citizens and foreigners who dare to maintain relations with Cuba. For years, the agency has spent millions of dollars and a good part of its labor power on spying on, detecting, and punishing individuals, companies and other entities. (JGA)

Translated by Granma International

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1. These fines were most likely levied back during the Bush Administration so I would allocate them to the Obama Administration.

2. This is the first I am reading about any “legal clarifications”.

3. January 16 is four days BEFORE Obama even became President where Granma says measures were implemented four days AFTER he was inaugurated.