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Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)


Self Description

March 2008:
"Our Mission

The Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. OFAC acts under Presidential wartime and national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze foreign assets under US jurisdiction. Many of the sanctions are based on United Nations and other international mandates, are multilateral in scope, and involve close cooperation with allied governments.

Our History

The Treasury Department has a long history of dealing with sanctions. Dating back prior to the War of 1812, Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin administered sanctions imposed against Great Britain for the harassment of American sailors. During the Civil War, Congress approved a law which prohibited transactions with the Confederacy, called for the forfeiture of goods involved in such transactions, and provided a licensing regime under rules and regulations administered by Treasury.

OFAC is the successor to the Office of Foreign Funds Control (the ``FFC''), which was established at the advent of World War II following the German invasion of Norway in 1940. The FFC program was administered by the Secretary of the Treasury throughout the war. The FFC's initial purpose was to prevent Nazi use of the occupied countries' holdings of foreign exchange and securities and to prevent forced repatriation of funds belonging to nationals of those countries. These controls were later extended to protect assets of other invaded countries. After the United States formally entered World War II, the FFC played a leading role in economic warfare against the Axis powers by blocking enemy assets and prohibiting foreign trade and financial transactions.

OFAC itself was formally created in December 1950, following the entry of China into the Korean War, when President Truman declared a national emergency and blocked all Chinese and North Korean assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction."

http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/mission.shtml

Third-Party Descriptions

December 2010: "Enforcement of America’s sanctions rests with Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which can make exceptions with guidance from the State Department. The Treasury office resisted disclosing information about the licenses, but after The Times filed a federal Freedom of Information lawsuit, the government agreed to turn over a list of companies granted exceptions and, in a little more than 100 cases, underlying files explaining the nature and details of the deals. The process took three years, and the government heavily redacted many documents, saying they contained trade secrets and personal information. Still, the files offer a snapshot — albeit a piecemeal one — of a system that at times appears out of sync with its own licensing policies and America’s goals abroad."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/world/24sanctions.html

Relationships

RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Status/Name Change from Office of Foreign Funds Control Organization Mar 20, 2008
Owned by (partial or full, past or present) Treasury Department/Department of the Treasury Organization Mar 20, 2008
Founded/Co-Founded by Pres. Harry S. Truman Person Mar 20, 2008

Articles and Resources

Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at:
Dec 23, 2010 U.S. Approved Business With Blacklisted Nations

QUOTE: Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has allowed American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism...At the behest of a host of companies — from Kraft Food and Pepsi to some of the nation’s largest banks — a little-known office of the Treasury Department has granted nearly 10,000 licenses for deals...

New York Times