Frequently Asked Questions

Print this topic

Counter Terrorism Sanctions

812. As a U.S. person, am I prohibited from engaging in transactions involving information or informational materials, including artwork, that are the property or subject to an interest in property of persons designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under or otherwise blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended, (E.O. 13224)?

Yes. In general, any transaction or dealing by a U.S. person in any property or interests in property of persons designated as SDGTs under or otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 is prohibited. Such property includes artwork and other information and information materials. Certain exemptions available under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) relating to personal communications, humanitarian donations, information or informational materials, and travel do not apply to transactions with SDGTs or persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224.

For purposes of these prohibitions, U.S. persons include all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, and all U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches. U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions with SDGTs or with persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Non-U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions or dealings subject to U.S. jurisdiction with SDGTs or with persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, and may also risk being sanctioned by OFAC. Foreign financial institutions may also be subject to correspondent and payable through account sanctions if they knowingly facilitate significant transactions for or on behalf of an SDGT.

Released on

813. As a member of the art community, what are my compliance obligations with respect to Executive Order 13224, as amended?

U.S. persons (including galleries, museums, private art collectors, auction companies, and others that conduct or facilitate transactions involving artwork) must ensure that they do not engage in transactions with persons listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) on OFAC’s SDN List or with persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, unless authorized by OFAC. U.S. persons should develop a tailored, risk-based compliance program, which may include sanctions list screening or other appropriate measures. An adequate compliance solution will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of business involved, and there is no single compliance program or solution suitable for every circumstance. For purposes of these requirements, U.S. persons include all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, and all U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches. U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Non-U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions subject to U.S. jurisdiction with SDGTs or persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, and also risk being sanctioned by OFAC. Foreign financial institutions may be subject to correspondent and payable through account sanctions if they knowingly facilitate significant transactions for or on behalf of a SDGT. The names of, and identifying information for, all individuals and entities included on OFAC’s sanctions lists may be located via OFAC’s free, online search engine at the following URL: http://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov. In addition, OFAC offers text and PDF versions of these lists for manual review and a number of data file versions of its lists that are designed to facilitate automated screening. Depending on the scale, sophistication, and risk profile of your business, you may consider one of the numerous commercially available screening software packages.

Released on

814. I am currently in possession of artwork in which a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) has an interest. What should I do?

Once it has been determined that you or your institution is holding or is in possession of artwork that is the property of an SDGT or a person otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, or in which such a person has an interest, you or your institution must ensure that access to that artwork is denied to the SDGT or blocked person and that your institution complies with OFAC regulations related to blocked assets, including restrictions on the sale or transfer of the artwork to third parties. Pursuant to 31 CFR section 501.603, blocked property, physical or financial, must be reported to OFAC within 10 business days; U.S. persons must also comply with all other applicable reporting obligations. See FAQs 49 and 50. Questions about whether a transaction should be blocked should be directed to OFAC at 202-622-2490 or ofac_feedback@treasury.gov.

Released on

928. Do U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network prohibit the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan?  

No.  The Taliban are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

In addition, OFAC has issued General License No. 14 (GL 14) to facilitate the continuation of humanitarian assistance to, and other activities that support basic human needs in, Afghanistan by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and certain international organizations (IOs).  GL 14 authorizes the United States Government, NGOs, certain IOs, and their employees, grantees, contractors, or other persons acting on their behalf to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan and that may involve the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and that would otherwise be prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to certain conditions.  

GL 14 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized humanitarian assistance to or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan.  However, GL 14 does not authorize any debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  In addition, GL 14 does not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services.  For purposes of clarity, transfers of funds to or from Afghanistan that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in GL 14, including clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan, are authorized under GL 14.  

Persons authorized under GL 14 include the following entities and their employees, grantees, contractors, or other persons acting on their behalf:  (1) the United States Government; (2) NGOs; (3) the United Nations, including its Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as its specialized Agencies and Related Organizations, which includes the World Bank; (4) the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); (5) the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), including any fund entity administered or established by any of the foregoing; (6) the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and (7) the Islamic Development Bank (ISDB).

For an organizational chart of the United Nations, which lists the Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as the Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations covered by GL 14, please see the following page on the United Nations website:  https://www.un.org/en/pdfs/un_system_chart.pdf. 

For activity outside the scope of GL 14, OFAC may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis to authorize certain transactions involving U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system that may otherwise be prohibited by OFAC sanctions, provided those transactions are in the foreign policy interests of the United States.

If individuals, NGOs, IOs, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they may contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.  Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.  
 

Released on

929. For the purposes of General License (GL) 14, what is "humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan" or "other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan"?

For the purposes of GL 14, humanitarian assistance includes the provision of relief services related to natural and man-made disasters, the provision of healthcare and health-related services, protection and assistance for vulnerable or displaced populations (including women, individuals with disabilities, the elderly, survivors of violence, those incarcerated or detained, and the drug dependent), operation of orphanages, the distribution of articles (such as food, clothing, and medicine) intended to be used to relieve human suffering in Afghanistan, and training or other services related to any of the foregoing activities.  Other activities that support basic human needs include activities to support non-commercial development projects in Afghanistan that primarily benefit poor or at-risk populations or otherwise relieve human suffering, including activities related to shelter and settlement assistance, food security, livelihoods support, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, and COVID-19-related assistance, among others, and training or other services related to any of the foregoing activities.  However, in all cases, authorized humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan must not entail financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, and import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services described in GL 14 and FAQ 928.

If individuals, NGOs, IOs, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.  Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.  

Released on

930. Do U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network prohibit the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Afghanistan? 

No.  The Taliban are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

In addition, OFAC has issued General License No. 15 (GL 15) under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), and E.O. 13224, as amended.  GL 15 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts, and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Afghanistan, as those terms are defined in GL 15, as well as to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Afghanistan, and that may involve the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, subject to certain conditions.  

GL 15 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized export or reexports, including the processing of financial transactions and related clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan.  However, GL 15 does not authorize any debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  In addition, GL 15 does not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services.  For purposes of clarity, transfers of funds to or from Afghanistan that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in GL 15, including clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan, are authorized under GL 15. 

Where not covered by GL 15, OFAC may also issue specific licenses to authorize certain transactions involving U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system that may otherwise be prohibited by OFAC sanctions, provided those transactions are in the foreign policy interests of the United States.

If individuals, entities, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.  Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.
 

Released on

931. Do non-U.S. persons risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for engaging in transactions that U.S. persons would be authorized to engage in under General Licenses (GLs) 14 or 15?

No.  Non-U.S. persons may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GLs 14 or 15 without exposure to sanctions under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. 

For example, activity that would be authorized by GLs 14 or 15 if engaged in by a U.S. person would not be considered “significant” for the purposes of a secondary sanctions determination under E.O. 13224, as amended.  Accordingly, foreign financial institutions do not risk exposure to correspondent and payable-through account sanctions under E.O. 13224, as amended, if they knowingly conduct or facilitate a transaction on behalf of persons blocked under E.O. 13224, as amended, that would be authorized under GLs 14 or 15 if engaged in by a U.S. person. 

If individuals, entities, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.  Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

Released on