Honduran government liquidates the first bank designated by OFAC under the Kingpin Act

The Honduran government has informed OFAC that it has initiated proceedings to liquidate Banco Continental S.A., a designated Honduran bank owned by Jaime Rosenthal, who along with the bank was listed earlier this month as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficking Kingpin for allegedly providing money laundering and other services that support the activities of several Central American drug trafficking organisations. Banco Continental is the first bank to have been designated under the Kingpin Act, and is said to have played an integral part in Rosenthal’s money laundering operations.

OFAC understands that the bank is now under the control of the Honduran government and is being managed by a state-appointed liquidator. OFAC has published a statement advising that non-US persons will not be designated themselves for engaging in transactions relating to the liquidation of Banco Continental, provided that they do not do so knowing that such transactions will benefit any listed person other than the bank.  Transactions involving US persons or occurring within US jurisdiction will still need OFAC authorisation.

Also listed at the same time as Mr Rosenthal and Banco Continental were his son Yani Rosenthal and his nephew Yankel Rosenthal, as well as 6 other businesses belonging to him. In the US Treasury’s press release, Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin said that the listings underscore the US government’s commitment “to protecting the US financial system from criminals”, adding that it is also “fully committed to working with the Honduran authorities” to protect their own financial system and institutions.

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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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