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OFAC’s “Introduction to OFAC” Web Series

By: Andrea Gacki, Director, and Bradley Smith, Deputy Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury 

Financial sanctions continue to be a vital tool to support the United States’ foreign policy goals and national security, and the private sector is a critical partner in the success of our mission. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implements and enforces sanctions, but the private sector acts as the first line of defense. To meet the latest national security challenges, our sanctions have evolved and, in many cases, become more complex. We know this creates complexities in compliance, too. To help provide further clarity on U.S. sanctions requirements, OFAC is launching a series of short videos that provide background on our sanctions programs along with practical suggestions on how to comply effectively. 

OFAC regularly engages with the private sector. We meet with companies and organizations impacted by our sanctions to better understand the compliance challenges they face and identify where additional guidance from OFAC can be helpful. OFAC uses this valuable feedback to inform our written guidance to address specific issues, such as our Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry, our Humanitarian Assistance and Food Security Fact Sheet issued jointly with the United Kingdom’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), and our newly re-designed Frequently Asked Questions page.

To build on these efforts, in the coming months we will be rolling out two video series for the public. The first series, “Introduction to OFAC,” aims to provide viewers with a high-level introduction on the fundamentals of OFAC and sanctions implementation. The first episode, released today, introduces viewers to OFAC, including our history, mission, and critical partnership with the private sector. Future videos in this series will cover topics such as the difference between general and specific licenses, best practices for sanctions compliance, and regulatory requirements for reporting on blocked property and rejected transactions. 

Our second video series, “OFAC Shorts,” will be short videos aimed at addressing specific questions that are frequently raised through our OFAC Hotline, such as how to most effectively use OFAC’s Sanctions List Search tool and steps to validate a potential sanctions match. We welcome organizations sharing these videos with their staff, including through embedding them directly into internal training portals. 

OFAC is committed to continuing to provide the most effective and clear guidance possible. We welcome feedback on these episodes, including recommendations on additional topics that would be helpful for OFAC to address.

OFAC looks forward to continuing and strengthening its valued partnership with the private sector to help ensure the success of our sanctions programs.