OFAC has added two new questions to its FAQ on US sanctions against Cuba, relating to the use of the US dollar in certain transactions (link here). Question 43 sets out the circumstances in which the US dollar may be used to conduct transactions in Cuba or with Cuban nationals, which includes activities authorised by the Cuban Asset Control Regulations (CACR) and U-Turn transactions where neither the originator nor the beneficiary is subject to US jurisdiction. Foreign branches or subsidiaries of US banks may act as the originator or beneficiary in such transactions.
Question 50 confirms that the correspondent accounts of depository institutions at Cuban banks may be established and maintained in US dollars, provided the accounts are used only for transactions that are authorised by or exempt from the CACR. In addition, it says that transactions necessary to maintain those accounts are authorised, and that correspondent accounts used by US banks to process US dollar instruments presented indirectly by Cuban banks may also be denominated in US dollars. However, the FAQ stipulates that Cuban banks are still prohibited from opening correspondent accounts at US banks.