March 27, 2019

OFAC settles with US tools maker and Chinese subsidiary

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury has announced a settlement with Connecticut-based hardware and tools company Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (SBD) and its Chinese subsidiary, Jiangsu Guoqiang Tools Co. Ltd. (GQ)  The company has agreed to pay $1,869,144 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), 31 CFR Part 560, on its own behalf and that of its subsidiary.  OFAC alleged that between June 2013 and December 2014, GQ was involved in the export of 23 shipments of products directly to Iran or for eventual transshipment to Iran, thereby apparently violating ITSR § 560.215. 

According to OFAC, following SBD’s 2013 acquisition of GQ, the company provided training to GQ employees on SBD’s code of conduct, including some training on global trade compliance, but did not implement procedures to monitor or audit GQ’s operations to ensure that sales to Iran would not occur.  OFAC noted that SBD initiated an internal investigation once it became aware of the potential sanctions violations, engaged an independent investigative company, and voluntarily self-disclosed the transactions, which were valued at $3,201,647.73.

In reaching the settlement, OFAC considered aggravating factors such as GQ senior management’s knowing and willful violations, and mitigating factors such as SBD’s and GQ’s not having received any penalty notices or findings of violation from OFAC in the five years preceding the transactions, SBD’s immediate and substantive remedial efforts once the apparent violations were discovered, and the company’s cooperation with OFAC during the course of the investigation.

OFAC press release | OFAC Enforcement Information