Thursday, 1 September 2011

JP Morgan fined $111m for processing financial transactions with Cuba

Recent fines imposed by the US government's Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) against global financial services firm JP Morgan Chase for processing financial transactions with Cuba show that the Obama administration is still focused on punishing trade with Cuba.

According to the US Treasury Department, JP Morgan Chase processed 1,711 wire transfers valued at $178.5m between 12 December 2005 and 31 March 2006 involving Cuban nationals.

The Cuban Assets Control Regulation prohibits  financial transactions with Cuba on the grounds that the country is a “state sponsor of terrorism”. The Cuban Foreign Ministry recently declared that the US government “has absolutely no moral nor any right to judge Cuba, which has an unblemished history in the fight against terrorism and has also been consistently a victim of this scourge.” It said the only reason the island is accused of terrorism “is to discredit Cuba and justify the economic embargo, which has been maintained for half a century.”

As a result of the illegitimate transactions, JP Morgan Chase was fined $111m for violating the control regulations and the company has agreed to pay $88m in settlements to the US Treasury Department.

The fine imposed on JP Morgan Chase is the fourth largest by Washington since the George W. Bush administration when controls relating to the economic blockade of Cuba were tightened.

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