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On the Front Lines of U.S.

Economic Sanctions

On the Front Lines of U.S.

Economic Sanctions

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OFAC Lawyers at the Cutting-Edge of U.S. Economic Sanctions

We bring new and innovative approaches to OFAC-related matters across different disciplines within the practice of U.S. economic sanctions in order to maximize our clients’ sanctions risk mitigation or defense. For example, our deep experience working on OFAC-related matters affords us the ability to fuse our sanctions due diligence practice to our risk assessment advisory work, and to best identify any OFAC enforcement or targeting pitfalls that may arise once information is provided to OFAC. In short, our experience and knowledge can be brought to bear to ensure effective representation that considers all aspects of a sanctions issue.

The lawyers at our firm are either former OFAC officials themselves, or have come to the firm through our intensive internship program so that they can serve as sanctions practitioners in the truest sense of the word. This means that our OFAC lawyers are able to understand OFAC matters from all angles, including from procedural, substantive, and policy perspectives.

Our lawyers often travel across the world to provide expert advice and representation in OFAC matters including in the OFAC SDN delisting, OFAC enforcement, OFAC licensing, and OFAC compliance context. Given our narrow focus, we provide a bespoke suite of OFAC sanctions-related services that can either stand on their own or complement a larger team of legal counsel or an investigative and auditing team.

Ferrari & Associates strives to be as diverse as the clientele we represent, both in background, as well as in perspective. In doing so, we walk the line between compliance professionals and advocates. The firm’s ultimate goal is to protect our clients whether by helping them comply with relevant U.S. sanctions laws from the outset, or defending their position when an investigation or sanctions designation occurs. In order to do that we seek to build an understanding of our clients’ business culture and personal preferences, and bring our experience and knowledge to bear in an effective and efficient manner.

Our Practice is Comprised Of

45 %


20 %


10 %


25 %

OFAC Compliance
& Licensing Matters

Significant Cases

The OFAC lawyers at Ferrari & Associates represent clients in some of the biggest, complex, and most publicized OFAC-related cases that have ever occurred. These cases involve a clientele ranging from government officials, state-owned companies, global financial institutions, and all the way to private individuals. One of the true benefits of hiring Ferrari & Associates for an OFAC-related matter is that, given the firm’s exposure to every manner of OFAC case from the mundane to the extraordinary, the OFAC lawyers at the firm are able to adequately understand and explain the nuances of any type of OFAC case in a manner which makes sense for the particular type of client involved. This means that the firm’s OFAC lawyers understand how a matter will impact a well-known client vs. a completely private individual, what consequences certain submissions to OFAC could have for a global financial institution, what information could be unavailable or restricted to certain clientele, etc. Simply put, Ferrari & Associates is comfortable and effective in any type of sanctions matter, no matter how big nor how small.

Significant Case #1

Represented a Lebanese family with a strong reputation and presence in the maritime industry in their removal from the OFAC SDN List. The family was designated under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Significant Case #2

Represented a global financial institution in a multi-year, multi-agency investigation of the financial institutions’ alleged dealings with North Korea and other sanctioned jurisdictions.

U.S. v. Zarrab

Represented Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman and gold trader, at the heart of a Southern District of New York prosecution for violations of the Iran sanctions program.

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Expert U.S. Sanctions and OFAC Lawyers and Practitioners

Ferrari & Associates’ lawyers and investigators are amongst the most qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced practitioners of U.S. economic sanctions working in the private sector today. With nearly half of our staff being made up of former staff of the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), we bring decades of experience from inside OFAC to every case we handle. Further, the remainder of our full-time staff are brought into the firm through an internship program that requires over a year of training and mentorship under our OFAC lawyers to ensure that by the time new associates are welcomed into the firm they are well versed and experienced in a variety of OFAC-related matters. Thus, at Ferrari & Associates, we’re not just lawyers handling OFAC matters, we’re OFAC practitioners handling legal cases for a variety of clientele across the world who are facing difficulties navigating U.S. economic sanctions issues.

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No. First, it should be noted that there is not a political will within the government to advocate for a removal of a party from the OFAC SDN List. Further, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing lobbying or political consulting services to SDNs without a license from OFAC authorizing those services. It has been our experience that OFAC routinely denies license applications seeking authorization to lobby on behalf of SDNs. Thus, lobbying for removal of a sanctions designation may, in certain circumstances, be illegal.

Certain sanctions authorities allow the targeting of persons who meet certain defined criteria based on their having a certain status. For example, if a person is the leader of an organization involved in sanctionable activity, or a company is designated for being owned or controlled by a sanctioned party, then those are examples of status-based designations. On the other hand, conduct based sanctions designations relate to a person’s involvement in certain activity which is rendered sanctionable by a relevant executive order or statute. For example, those providing support and services to persons sanctioned under a particular sanctions program, could themselves be sanctioned under that same program for provision of such support or services.

No, not generally. Although the complexity and scope of the Iranian sanctions program has scared away many parties–particularly, global financial institutions–from engaging in any trade, permissible or otherwise, with Iran, there are still numerous exemptions and general authorizations which permit humanitarian goods–specifically, food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices–to be exported to Iran without fear of sanctions consequence. Although, there are certain nuances and limitations that must be accounted for, generally speaking it is possible to export humanitarian goods to Iran without fearing backlash from OFAC.

You don’t. OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule speaks solely to an entity’s status as blocked due to its ownership being held 50 percent or greater by an SDN or in the aggregate by various SDNs. Although there is designation criteria for an entity being owned and controlled by an SDN, if the entity is not specifically targeted by OFAC and identified on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons (“SDN”) List, then a party seeking to determine the entity’s status as blocked under U.S. sanctions need only look to its ownership. Of course, an analysis as to control may want to be carried out to assess exposure of a future designation of that entity; however, it is not necessary as party of a 50 Percent Rule analysis.