Designation as a “Specially Designated National” or “SDN” has significant implications for the individual or entity labeled an SDN as well as any domestic entities in the United States that do business with the individual or entity. Once a foreign individual or company is labeled an SDN, its assets are blocked, and U.S. entities are generally prohibited from dealing with the foreign national or company. This presents a number of challenges for which the assistance of an SDN lawyer is required.
Once the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has labeled an individual or entity as a specially designated national (SDN), that individual’s or entity’s assets are “blocked,” which means that U.S. residents, citizens and businesses are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving those assets in any capacity.
The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is the federal agency tasked with enforcing foreign nationals’ and domestic entities’ obligations with respect to SDN designations. It is also responsible for publishing and maintaining the current list of SDNs. Here are answers to some frequently-asked questions (FAQs) about SDN designations and OFAC compliance:
There is no formal notification procedure when a foreign national or business is designated as an SDN. Instead, the foreign national and domestic entities that are doing business with the foreign national typically learn of an SDN designation when they attempt to access funds or other assets belonging to the foreign national and are precluded from doing so.
When an account or other asset is only partially owned by an SDN, OFAC’s 50-percent rule applies. Under this rule, an asset that is partially owned by an SDN is blocked if the SDN owns a 50-percent or greater interest in the asset.
Yes. Once a foreign individual or entity has been designated as an SDN, all of its assets are considered blocked by OFAC. This includes assets held in the U.S. and in all foreign countries.
In order to do business with an SDN, a U.S. company must have a license from OFAC. There are two types of OFAC licenses: specific and general. In most cases, creditors and other businesses will need to apply for a specific license from OFAC. A specific license authorizes a particular transaction or course of dealing between a specific U.S. business and SDN. In contrast, general licenses authorize a particular course of dealing or type of trade for all U.S. businesses, meaning that all companies having business that falls within the scope of the general license can utilize it.
If your company attempts to do business with an SDN (knowingly or unknowingly) and the transaction is rejected, you have an obligation to report the rejected transaction to the OFAC within 10 days. U.S. businesses have various other reporting obligations related to transactions involving SDNs and blocked assets as well; and, in order to avoid non-compliance, companies are advised to seek representation from an experienced SDN lawyer.
If you have questions about OFAC compliance in relation to transacting business with SDNs, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with an SDN lawyer at Saavedra | Goodwin, call 954-767-6333 or inquire online now.