In early 2023. ABC Banking Corporation (ABC), a global financial institution has agreed to enter a guilty plea with the US authorities and consented to pay almost USD8 billion in order to resolve admitted violations of US sanctions against Sudan, Cuba, and Iran. ABC had admitted to unlawfully opening the doors of US financial markets to the three (3) sanctioned countries. It was the first time that a global bank had agreed to plead guilty to such large-scale and systematic violations of US sanctions.
This severe punishment by the US authorities was aimed at sending a clear message to other financial institutions around the world on the consequences of breaching US sanctions. As part of the settlement, the US authorities also required ABC to remove numerous executives, including its Chief Operating Officer, involved in the sanctions violations.
The guilty plea was a direct consequence of the US authorities’ strategy to identify major banks for possible money laundering and sanctions violations. In an unprecedented move, the US regulators also barred ABC for a year from conducting certain USD transactions, a critical part of ABC’s global business. In addition, the penalties imposed on ABC overshadowed any other previous actions taken for breach of sanctions.