October 5, 2020

Sanctioned Dominican official sues OFAC

On September 30, 2020, Felix Ramon Bautista-Rosario and members of his family filed a complaint in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, requesting a writ of mandamus and declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief against the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury, as well as Treasury and US State Department officials.

Bautista is a senator in the government of the Dominican Republic.  He alleges that in June 2018 he was placed on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals pursuant to Executive Order 13818, and that he and his family were designated by the US Department of State as ineligible for entry into the United States pursuant to Section 7031(c)(1)(A) of the Fiscal Year 2018 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act.  At the same time, five business owned by Bautista were also designated by OFAC. 

Indeed, OFAC designated Bautista and his businesses on June 12, 2018 pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which was issued in December 2017 to implement the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016.  According to OFAC, Bautista engaged in corruption and used his connections to win public works contracts in Haiti, and has been publicly accused of money laundering and embezzlement.

In the complaint, Bautista catalogues the hardship these designations have caused himself and his family, and recites the measures he has taken to secure a substantive review and administrative de-listing of the OFAC designation.  He claims that both the 7031 designations of himself and his family, and the OFAC designations of himself and his businesses, violate the Administrative Procedures Act and the family’s Fifth Amendment due process protections and rights under the takings clause.  The writ of mandamus claim arises from OFAC’s alleged delay in deciding Bautista’s claim for de-listing.

Complaint US Dept of the Treasury press release (Bautista designation)