Seeking Help in Expediting an OFAC SDN Reconsideration?

Removing a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) designation imposed by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control can be a very difficult process. Often times when contesting such a designation it takes months, and sometimes even years, for OFAC to respond to the a petition for reconsideration, and even then they only ask more questions which could have or should have been asked earlier. In order to expedite the process of seeking an OFAC SDN reconsideration follow these three key rules:

1. Submit early: The OFAC SDN reconsideration process is long and in almost all cases takes at least a few years to resolve. As such, as soon as the circumstances warrant a reconsideration of the designation a reconsideration should be submitted. In some cases this may be upon designation if the designation was made in error, or in cases of changed circumstances, the reconsideration should be made once connections with other designated parties are severed or the conduct engaged in has ceased.

2. Provide official documentation: Although OFAC often relies upon newspaper reports, it doesn’t mean that you should. Any type of official and/or legal documentation showing ownership and assets should be provided to OFAC to show that there is no criminal background of the party requesting reconsideration and there is no shared assets or ownership by other SDNs. Any documentation can be helpful, but official and legal documentation are the most compelling to OFAC.

3. Lean on home countries to assist: OFAC has limited resources and personnel to handle reconsiderations. As such, responding to requests becomes a matter of priority, and priority is generally dicatated by who needs to be responded to. As such, a request for reconsideration is going to receive less attention coming from a private individual with no follow up by that party’s home country, then it would if the home country was requesting information on the reconsideration through diplomatic channels. Thus, once a request for reconsideration is submitted, it is useful to have officials from the designated party’s home country or their embassy communicate with OFAC regarding the reconsideration.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in OFAC matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or

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Libya Sanctions Go Into Effect

Last Friday President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order leveling sanctions against the Government of Libya, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities, and the Central Bank of Libya. In addition, a number of individuals listed on an Annex to this Executive Order where also targeted by those sanctions.

In the Executive Order, President Obama found that Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, his government, and close associates have taken extreme measures against the people of Libya, by using weapons of war, mercenaries, and wanton violence against unarmed civilians. Furthermore, the Executive Order found that due to the measures mentioned above that there was a threat to the stability of Libya such that constituted an extraordinary threat to the United States and warranted the use of sanctions.

Amongst other things, President Obama’s action blocked and blocks in the future any property under U.S. jurisdiction belonging to parties sanctioned pursuant to the Executive Order. Furthermore, the Executive Order included a ban on exporting and/or transferring blocked property which also extened to the entire Government of Libya and the Central Bank of Libya.

Although, the potential instability of Libya is cited by President Obama as being one of the reasons sanctions are warranted, it will be interesting to see how these sanctions further impact that instability. Certainly the goal here seems to be to take out the financial support of the current regime, thereby making Qadhafi’s chances of staying in power less likely. If Qadhafi somehow manages to stay in power, it will be interesting to watch how aggressively these new sanctions will be enforced. As in every case sanctions are only as strong as their enforcement.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in OFAC matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or

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