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

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. 

Medicaid Announces Next Generation of Managed Care Organizations

For the first time since 2005, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (“ODM”) made significant changes to the structure of the Medicaid program by finalizing the Medicaid Managed Care Procurement process. The Procurement process began in 2019 at the behest of Governor Mike DeWine who had a goal to make Medicaid managed care more focused on the health and well-being of individuals.

BMD Appellate Win Clarifies Waiver of Contractual Right to Arbitrate

Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC attorneys David M. Scott, Lucas K. Palmer, and Krista D. Warren prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding if/when a party waives a contractual right to arbitrate. Borror Property Management, LLC v. Oro Karric North, LLC, No. 20-3146 (the “Decision”).

Relief for Ohio Under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) — a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package — a significant portion of which will be directed to the State of Ohio to support economic recovery, as outlined below.

Ohio Breach of Contract Statute of Limitations Shortened to 6 Years

On March 16, 2021, Governor DeWine signed into law S.B. 13 which shortens Ohio’s statute of limitations for filing lawsuits based on breach of contract. A statute of limitation is the time period within which a party must file a lawsuit before its claim expires as a matter of law.

Chinese Product Tariff Challenge Causes Flurry of Importer Lawsuits

A lawsuit filed late in 2020 at the U.S. Court of International Trade (“CIT”) challenging the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) implementation of Section 301 “List 3” and “List 4” duties on products from China, HMTX Industries LLC et al. v. United States (Court No. 20-00177), has resulted in the filing of thousands of additional lawsuits brought by other affected importers. There are now 3,700+ companies added to the list, including Ford, Home Depot, Target, Tesla, and Walgreens, along with many other smaller importers.