October 2, 2020

US-incorporated travel assistance company settles apparent Cuba sanctions violations

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury announced on October 1, 2020 that it had reached a settlement with Generali Global Assistance, Inc., a travel assistance services company incorporated in New York, to settle the company’s potential civil liability for over two thousand apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515.

The facts set forth in the settlement reveal that Generali provides claims services to clients that offer medical expense and insurance policies to travelers.  OFAC alleged that for nearly five years beginning in 2010, Generali provided processing and payment services for Canadian travelers to Cuba who were insured by a Generali client.  According to OFAC, Generali intentionally referred Cuba-related claims to a Canadian affiliate in order to avoid direct payments to Cuban providers and to travelers while in Cuba.  As noted in the settlement, these transactions involved dealings in blocked property in which the government of Cuba or Cuban nationals had an interest, in apparent violation of § 515.201 of the CACR.

Generali agreed to pay $5,864,860 to resolve these apparent violations.  In determining the settlement, amount, OFAC deemed as aggravating factors Generali’s awareness of the conduct and intentional avoidance of direct payments to Cuban service providers, and the company’s position within a large and sophisticated global organization.  OFAC also took into account the relatively low value of the transactions ($285,760) and the company’s voluntary disclosure of the apparent violations, however, and viewed as mitigating factors the company’s violation-free record for the five preceding years, its cooperation with the investigation and willingness to sign a tolling agreement, its termination of the conduct and remedial actions in response to the apparent violations, and the fact that since January 2015, amendments to the Cuba sanctions regulations allow some of Generali’s previously problematic conduct.  The company has committed to enhanced compliance policies and procedures, including a sanctions training program that provides adequate information and instruction to employees and stakeholders.

OFAC press release | Enforcement Release | Settlement Agreement