News

OFAC finds Amex breached WMD sanctions because its screening failed!!!

05/05/2020

OFAC has made a Finding of Violation to American Express Travel Related Services Company (Amex) for violations of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 544.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20200430_amex.pdf

OFAC determined that Amex issued a prepaid credit card to and processed 41 transactions totalling $35,246.82 on behalf of Gerhard Wisser, listed as a specially designated national (SDN) in 2015 for participating in an operation to smuggle to Libya materials which could be used in the creation of nuclear weapons. See Notice. https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20200430.aspx

The violation occurred as a result of human error and screening system defects. A non-US bank entered Wisser’s details into Amex’s screening system when Wisser applied for a credit card. When Wisser was identified as an SDN, the non-US bank made multiple approval attempts, which led to Amex’s system being overridden.

As a result, a compliance analyst mistakenly approved his application. There is no financial penalty for a finding of violation. Amex remediated and self-disclosed the transactions, and OFAC determined the conduct was not reckless or willful.