OFAC issues compliance services guidance

January 13, 2017

On January 12, 2017, OFAC released a compliance services guidance document as a response to numerous inquiries relating to whether U.S. persons, including U.S. attorneys and compliance personnel, can provide certain services to covered persons (i.e., U.S. and foreign persons other than those subject to U.S. OFAC sanctions) relating to the requirements of U.S. sanctions laws.  According to the guidance, U.S. persons have been able to and may continue to provide "information or guidance regarding the requirements of U.S. sanctions laws administered by OFAC, including statutes, regulations, and Executive orders."  U.S. persons may also opine "on the legality of specific transactions under U.S. sanctions laws regardless of whether it would be prohibited for a U.S.  person to engage in those transactions."  OFAC reiterated that U.S. persons may not otherwise “approve, finance, facilitate, or guarantee a transaction with a foreign person” where the transaction would be prohibited under OFAC sanctions.  OFAC also released several FAQs related to this guidance.