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Cleveland Manufacturer Violated OFAC Sanctions By Allowing Shipments To Iran - Know Your Customer and Know Their Customer

Client Alert

Between 2013 and 2017, UniControl exported 21 shipments of its products to two European customers. These 21 shipments were subsequently reexported to Iran, which violated the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”) listed in 31 CFR Part 560.

WARNING SIGNS

UniControl encountered multiple alerts before and during this period and failed to take proper actions. In 2010, several years prior to the first of these shipments, a European trade partner of UniControl inquired whether UniControl could supply a significant market it had identified in Iran. UniControl turned down the opportunity but did not confirm that the sales to this European partner were not then being shipped to the Iranian market.

In 2014, UniControl and a European customer entered a sales agreement that listed Iran as a country to which the partner could re-sell these products. In 2016, UniControl offered to ship products directly to a purported third-party European end user, but the customer refused this offer in an attempt to obfuscate the end user. At European trade conferences, UniControl had direct interactions with Iranian nationals, but did not question their European trade partner on the interest. Finally, UniControl received a request from its European partner to remove the “Made in USA” labels from its products with the explanation that the Iranian end user may have issues with the product origin.

FIXING THE PROBLEM

UniControl consulted with outside counsel and then voluntarily self-disclosed these violations. In total, UniControl engaged in 21 prohibited transactions with a total product value of $687,189. The maximum statutory penalty that UniControl faced was $5,423,766. However, once all mitigating and aggravating factors were weighed, UniControl was able to reach a settlement with OFAC for $216,464.

Parallel to UniControl’s cooperation with OFAC and ceasing all shipments to its European trade partners, the company also righted its own “compliance ship.” This began by retaining outside counsel to strengthen their export control procedures. End-user certificates were created to make sure that buyers are not reselling to prohibited end users. These certificates are also requested from second and third level buyers of reexported products. UniControl added a Destination Control Statement within the footer of many of their trade documents to remind recipients of the restrictions on reselling, transferring, manipulating, or otherwise disposing of their products.

For a review of your export policies and processes, or questions on trade compliance, please contact International Law Attorney Kevin Burwell at kdburwell@bmdllc.com or 330-253-3715. 


Valley National Bank/Trulieve Loan: A Big Step Out of the Shadows

In a late December press release, Trulieve announced that it had secured a $71.5 million commercial bank loan. In addition to the amount of the loan, which may be the largest commercial bank loan to date to a cannabis company, the release prominently identified Valley Bank and featured both a quote from Valley’s Senior Vice President, John Myers, and a description of the Bank’s service platform and commitment to the cannabis industry.

The End of Non-Competes? The Impact It Will Have on the Healthcare Industry

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a proposed rule that, if enacted, will ban employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers (the “Rule”), and the Rule would void existing non-compete agreements. In their Notice, the FTC stated that if the Rule were to go into effect, they estimate the overall earnings of employees in the United States could increase by $250 billion to $296 billion per year. The Rule would also require employers to rescind non-competes that they had already entered into with their workers. For purposes of the Rule, the FTC has defined “worker” to also include any employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors.”

2022 Healthcare Recap and 2023 Healthcare Check-Up

As the country begins to return to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many healthcare rules changing on both the federal and state levels as a result. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers and their employers to be aware of these changing rules, and any implications they may have on their practice. Look back on healthcare in 2022 and find a checklist for 2023.

Direct Support Professional Retention Payments

On December 15, the Ohio Senate and House passed House Bill 45, which authorizes the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), in conjunction with the county boards of developmental disabilities, to launch their initiative to issue retention payments to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These retention payments will be distributed quarterly to participating home and community-based waiver providers to address the workforce crisis in the direct provider sector. Governor DeWine needs to sign the Bill to begin the payments, but he is expected to do so by the end of 2022.

Real Estate Investors Position for 2023 Opportunities

Real estate investors weathered another year in a post-pandemic world, with the year closing with yet another interest rate increase coupled with both uncertainty and heightened interest carrying into 2023. Just last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 0.50 percentage points, shifting the target range to 4.25% to 4.50%. The new level is the highest the fed funds rate has been since December 2007 and marks the seventh rate hike this year. So what does this mean to investors, brokers, lenders, and others in the real estate world? Read a few perspectives below from stakeholders familiar with our BMD clients and the markets in which they do business.