Miami Herald (July 9, 2020).- A minor nuisance that comes with U.S. sanctions is having to say goodbye to buying on Amazon.
The company was fined more than $134,000 USD on Wednesday, July 8 for selling goods and services to people in sanctioned countries and their embassies.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, between 2011 and 2018, people or entities located in Crimea, Iran and Syria were able to place orders on Amazon’s websites. The company also processed orders for people located in Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria, or employed by their embassies.
The Treasury release did not say which Cuban embassies were trying to buy supplies on Amazon.
The company also seems to have violated multiple sanctions programs administered by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), by selling to people on a special list of blocked nationals due to drug trafficking, illegal sales of weapons, terrorism and human rights violations.
Some of these blocked persons were linked to the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela.
“These apparent violations occurred primarily because Amazon’s automated sanctions screening processes failed to fully analyze all transaction and customer data relevant to compliance with OFAC’s sanctions regulations,” the Treasury statement said.
Although the statement does not provide more details, people in sanctioned countries or engaged in criminal activity seemed to have purchased the same sort of items Americans usually buy on Amazon, “low-value retail goods and services,” totaling $269,000 over several years.
Amazon agreed to pay $134,523 USD to settle with OFAC.
“The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that Amazon’s apparent violations were non-egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed, and further reflects the significant remedial measures implemented by Amazon upon discovery of the apparent violations,” Treasury said.
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