The voluntary disclosure program is available through the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). VSD is a beneficial option for companies that have violated OFAC law or BIS import and export regulations. A Denver company considering VSD should work with an experienced VSD attorney.Schedule FREE Consultation
Voluntary-self disclosure through the DOJ is a way for individuals or organizations to report known or suspected OFAC violations or violations of BIS import and export trade regulations.
An OFAC or BIS voluntary self-disclosure proactively addresses a potential violation. VSD mitigates the potential damage, bringing benefits that include:
The Bureau of Census and the DDTC strongly advise VSD when a violation of the Federal Trade Regulations (FTR) is known or suspected to have occurred.
OFAC violations are accompanied by serious penalties determined according to the OFAC enforcement guidelines.
A confirmed violation of OFAC sanctions can lead to:
The best step an individual or organization can take toward penalty mitigation is the completion of a VSD. This will not automatically result in penalties – an investigation may find no violation or simply issue a warning letter.
If a VSD is finalized and submitted before the violation is discovered and reported by another entity, it’s possible for the maximum penalty to be reduced by 50 percent. Since the full benefit of VSD depends on prompt submission, it’s advisable to contact a lawyer and begin the process as soon as a violation is suspected.
Legal counsel should oversee the completion of a VSD. An attorney will help confirm whether a violation actually occurred. If it did, the attorney will file an OFAC initial voluntary self-disclosure.
The steps of the VSD process typically involve:
Third-party reporting does not constitute a VSD and eliminates the chance of penalty mitigation.
If you or your company suspect an OFAC violation has occurred, you should immediately contact our Denver VSD law firm. Failure to do so puts you at serious risk of significant fines and penalties.
Time is limited to avoid the serious penalties accompanying an OFAC or BIS violation. Contact a Denver VSD attorney at Sequoia Legal today.
An OFAC VSD consists of the initial disclosure and follow-up reporting. Initial reporting occurs after legal counsel has reviewed statutory authorities and general licenses for regulation exemptions.
What should you include in a VSD? A report must include:
Once the initial report is filed, the follow-up report for a VSD involves:
Review and application of the international trade regulations that dictate import and export practices in the context of a violation require extensive effort by a VSD attorney.
Violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) should be reported to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). BIS regards voluntary self-disclosure as a sign of good faith, and submission of a VSD before discovery or reporting by another party can significantly help with penalty mitigation.
An individual or business submitting a voluntary self-disclosure to BIS should:
Violations of export compliance regulations, even non-criminal administrative violations, bring steep penalties. Fines for administrative cases can reach $25,000 or twice the transaction value and may also lead to a loss of export privileges.
It should be clear that administrative errors are no less serious than criminal violations, as they can result in the loss of business and livelihood.
Criminal violations of the EAR can result in fines of up to $1,000,000 per violation and a sentence of up to 20 years.
Sequoia Legal works with individuals and organizations involved in various industries. Our Denver VSD attorneys work with clients in shipping fields that include:
We also work with all types of commercial production companies, including:
Sequoia Legal offers direct representation and support to organizational internal counsel.
Customs and import matters are complex. There are countless ways for an organization to unintentionally violate the regulations that dictate import and export practices.
VSD disclosures offer a form of penalty mitigation, but a VSD must be submitted promptly and correctly to reap the benefit.
An experienced VSD lawyer can help by:
The best way of protecting yourself or your company from sanctions, fines, and prison time are to immediately begin working with a top VSD law firm.
Our Denver export compliance law firm has extensive experience with export administration regulations, the FCPA and international trade and can assist clients with developing export control and FCPA compliance programs. We ensure each client follows appropriate FCPA, export control compliance and foreign trade regulations for their industry, and our clients hail from nearly every industry sector. The attorneys at Sequoia Legal have successfully assisted and provided continued guidance for several international companies regarding the internal implementation of FCPA and export compliance plans. These companies employ and engage in various transactions with individuals and companies around the world. To ensure continued compliance with US sanctions laws and regulations following the implementation of the FCPA and export compliance programs, Sequoia Legal has conducted company audits, interviews and internal FCPA training programs. Due to the diligence of the Sequoia Legal team, zero issues or enforcement actions have been taken by the US government against Sequoia's clients for any FCPA or export related matter. An investment in a Sequoia Legal compliance plan has saved our clients time, focus and money.
Companies routinely face complex situations when exporting or doing business internationally. There is a complex set of laws and regulations applicable to the persons, places and products involved in international business. Businesses sometimes end up violating or running afoul of these highly technical and complicated rules. Sequoia Legal has represented various US and foreign companies in conducting internal investigations relating to suspected violations of US sanctions and export controls. Following completion of these internal investigations, where necessary, we have assisted clients in voluntarily disclosing suspected violations to US authorities and have obtained favorable outcomes, including reduced penalties or no penalties. This has allowed our clients to sleep at night and continue to expand and do business internationally in compliance with applicable US law.
Our team at Sequoia Legal regularly helps sellers and buyers of businesses navigate the intricacies of the purchase and sale process to help them achieve their dreams. In this case, Sequoia Legal was brought on by the owners of a local technology company in a sale to a strategic acquirer with a total transaction value in the multiple millions. We successfully negotiated transaction agreements, including due diligence with the buyer and post-closing employment agreements, and closed the transaction within an expedited 30 days period. As part of this process, we helped educate the sellers through their first transaction and work through the emotional roller coaster of selling your business.
And Finding It! Sequoia Legal regularly helps search funds and individuals find, acquire and successfully build new businesses. Our client was a search funder focused on acquiring a company in the professional services industry. We assisted in negotiating several LOI's that fell through, but as a result of that process, we found the right acquisition fit and assisted our client in executing an LOI, conducting due diligence, structuring the deal, negotiating the purchase agreement, working with the SBA and completing a deal that included a cash payment, SBA loan and seller financing with a variable note that reduced if certain revenue metrics were not achieved. We then assisted our client with several "tuck-in" acquisitions to further augment and accelerate the client's goals and exponentially grow revenue.
I have had an outstanding experience working with Hunter Boone at Sequoia Legal. He quickly responded to any and all requests for legal advice. His work was thorough, complete and timely. I will definitely be returning in the future.
I have used Sequoia Legal for the last 4 years. No matter what my needs are they are quick to respond, follow up and resolve my issues. I wouldn't use anyone else for my legal needs.
Andrew and Hunter have been an invaluable partner for our business. They are extremely responsive and have been advising us on a variety of issues. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for corporate counsel assistance
Don’t risk fines and jail time by handling trade violations alone – contact Sequoia Legal and speak with one of our Denver VSD attorneys today. Call (303) 476-2851 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
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Red flags of an OFAC violation include:
Smaller organizations are generally more at risk of violations, but even organizations with well-established oversight can fall victim.
An OFAC response to voluntary self-disclosure can range widely. Possible responses from OFAC include:
The response can depend on factors like the severity and type of violation, mitigating circumstances, and the thoroughness of the initial VSD.
A VSD is extremely time-sensitive. There’s no formal deadline for voluntary self-disclosure to BIS and DDTC. However, if an investigation or another reporting entity, such as a financial institution, discovers the violation before a VSD is submitted, you risk losing out on penalty mitigation.