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


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.

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.

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.