- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2020

Amazon has reached a settlement with the U.S. government to resolve claims the company repeatedly violated federal sanctions, the Treasury Department announced.

The online retail giant agreed to pay $134,523 to settle its potential civil liability for servicing customers in apparent violation of international sanctions, the department said Wednesday.

Blaming deficiencies in Amazon’s screening processes, the Treasury said the California-based company provided goods and services to customers personally sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, in addition to individuals located in places subjected to U.S. sanctions and people in or employed by the foreign missions of sanctioned countries.

“From on or about November 15, 2011, to on or about October 18, 2018, persons located in Crimea, Iran and Syria placed orders or otherwise conducted business on Amazon’s websites for consumer and retail goods and services where the transaction details demonstrated that the goods or services would be provided to persons in Crimea, Iran or Syria,” the Treasury said.

Amazon also accepted and processed orders on its websites for persons located in or employed by the foreign missions of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria,” the department said.

The Treasury also said Amazon failed to timely report hundreds of transactions conducted under a general license issued by OFAC that included a mandatory reporting requirement.

Amazon had faced a maximum civil penalty of more than $1 million, but the government settled for a fraction of that after determining the apparent violations were “non-egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed,” and that the company implemented “significant remedial measures” to address the apparent violations after they were discovered.

“This case demonstrates the importance of implementing and maintaining effective, risk-based sanctions compliance controls, including sanctions screening measures appropriate for ecommerce and other internet-based businesses that operate on a global scale,” reads parts of a document the Treasury released detailing the settlement. “Such large and sophisticated businesses should implement and employ compliance tools and programs that are commensurate with the speed and scale of their business operations.”

Amazon declined to comment.

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