Navigators Insurance Company (NIC) has paid $271,815 to OFAC in settlement of its potential civil liability for 48 apparent violations of several US sanctions regimes. The violations occurred between 8 May 2008 and 1 April 2011, whereby NIC and its London branch issued global protection and indemnity insurance policies that covered North Korean-flagged vessels and incidents occurring in or involving Iran, Sudan, and Cuba. Some of these policies led to the payment of claims. OFAC determined that NIC voluntarily disclosed the violations to OFAC, and that the violations were a result of personnel within NIC misinterpreting the applicability of OFAC sanctions regulations in the absence of a formal OFAC compliance program.

OFAC considered that NIC’s case was aggravated by the fact that managers and supervisors knew or had reason to know that the majority of the insurance policies and payments at issue involved OFAC-sanctioned countries, that NIC is a commercially sophisticated financial institution, and by the absence of a formal compliance program. However, OFAC ultimately determined the apparent violations to be non-egregious and considered that they were mitigated by NIC’s cooperation with OFAC’s investigation, NIC taking appropriate remedial action in response (including the implementation of a comprehensive compliance program), and NIC having a clean record with OFAC for the five years preceding their first apparent violation.

OFAC’s press release on the matter is here.

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About Michael O'Kane

Michael O’Kane is a partner and Head of the Business Crime team at leading UK firm Peters & Peters. Described as ‘first-rate’ (Legal 500 2012), he “draws glowing praise from commentators” (Chambers 2013) for handling the international aspects of business crime, including sanctions, extradition and mutual legal assistance. Called to the Bar in 1992 and prior to joining Peters & Peters he was a senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters(CPS). At CPS HQ he was a key member of a small specialist unit responsible for the prosecution of serious and high profile fraud, terrorist and special interest criminal matters including the Stansted Airport Afghan hijacking and the prosecution of Paul Burrell (Princess Diana’s butler). Michael joined Peters & Peters in 2002. He became a partner in May 2004, and Head of the Business Crime team in May 2009. Since joining Peters & Peters, Michael has dealt with a wide range of business crime matters. He has particular expertise in international sanctions, criminal cartels, extradition, corruption, mutual legal assistance, and FSA investigations. Described as“ an influential practitioner in fraud and regulatory work, so much so that he is top of the referral lists of many City firms for independent advice for directors” (The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2009), he was recognised as one of the UK’s most innovative lawyers in the 2011 FT Innovative Lawyer Awards and included in the list of the UK's leading lawyers in 'The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery 2012. In 2012 he was the winner of the Global Competition Review Article of the Year. Michael regularly appears on television and radio to discuss his specialist areas and he is the author of the leading textbook on the UK Criminal Cartel Offence “The Law of Criminal Cartels-Practice and Procedure” (Oxford University Press 2009). Recent/Current Sanctions Work • Representing 109 individuals and 12 companies subject to designation by the European Council under targeted measures imposed against Zimbabwe. This is the largest and most complex collective challenge to a sanctions listing ever brought before the European Court. • Acting for a former Egyptian Minister and his UK resident wife, challenging their designation by the European Council of Ministers under targeted measures brought against former members of the Egyptian Government. • Advising a company accused in a UN investigation report to have breached UN sanctions imposed in relation to Somalia. • Advising a UK company in relation to ongoing commercial relationships with an Iranian company listed under both EU and UN sanctions. • Advising an individual in relation to a UK investigation for alleging breaching nuclear export controls.

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