The agency of the U.S. Treasury Department that enforces sanctions on Cuba says a company in Vancouver, Wash., has agreed to pay $1.35 million to settle apparent violations from 2006 to 2009.
The Great Western Malting Co. could have been fined nearly $6 million for having handled the back-office functions for a foreign affiliate that sold non-U.S. barley malt to Cuba, according to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Some of the transactions, from August 2006 to March 2009, involved people in Cuba and a Cuban ship, OFAC added, without identifying the foreign affiliate, the people, or the vessel.
The case was settled for $1.35 million because Great Western has no prior sanctions violations, it “substantially cooperated” with the investigators, and the malt would have been eligible for an OFAC license if shipped from the United States, the agency added.
U.S. laws allow the sale of agricultural goods to Cuba. Those sales totaled $347 million in 2011 and stood at $186 million for the first four months of this year. U.S. exports to the island hit a record of $710 million in 2008.
The OFAC statement described Great Western, which produces malt for brewers, distillers, and the food industry, as “a large, sophisticated entity” but added that it “did not have an adequate OFAC compliance program in place at the time of the violations.”
The Cuban government’s CubaDebate Web page described the OFAC sanction on Great Western as a U.S. government “reaffirmation of its policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.”
ING bank in the Netherlands was fined $619 million and the Panama branch of the Ericsson telephone company paid $1.75 million this year for violating the U.S. sanctions on the island, the page noted.
Cuba has suffered $975 billion in damages from the U.S. trade embargo since it was adopted in 1962, the report added.