The Treasury Department on Wednesday announced the largest sanctions settlement in the history of its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), following a $536 million global settlement with Credit Suisse. The settlement followed an extensive investigation during which Credit Suisse ceased doing business with the Iranian government and began cooperating with the OFAC.
In announcing the settlement, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey explained:
"This case also provides a critical and timely lesson about the Iranian Government's use of deceptive practices to evade sanctions and the fact that banks that do business with Iran expose themselves to the risk of becoming involved in Iran's proliferation and terrorism activities."
As we have previously reported here and here, the Iranian regime has recently been the target of intense international efforts to squeeze its financial resources in hopes of getting it to end its nuclear proliferation and support for terrorist groups. This incident reflects not only the necessity of cutting off funding to Iran, but also the need for financial institutions to partner with governments to ensure that banks are not used for nefarious purposes.
While this is the most recent example of international efforts at curbing the ability of the Iranian government to fund its violent goals, it follows a long line of successes. As the Treasury Department explained:
"It is because of these kinds of tactics that the overwhelming majority of major banks and an increasing number of other companies are forgoing business with Iran altogether."
Without question, Credit Suisse can now be added to that long list of businesses that will not cooperate as Iran continues shirking its international responsibilities.