Atradius settles sanctions violation with firm associated with TBML operations

Atradius Trade Credit Insurance (ATCI), a subsidiary of Dutch trade finance insurer Atradius licensed to operate in the US state of Maryland, has agreed to pay a settlement of more than US$345,000 in respect of allegations that it violated US sanctions.

The allegations relate to ATCI agreeing to a right to collect on a debt of more than US$5 million owed by Grupo Wisa, a Panama-based travel retailer and part of the Waked organisation.

According to the US treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Waked money laundering organisation – which was designated as a narcotics trafficker in 2016 –used trade-based money laundering (TBML) schemes, including false commercial invoicing and bulk cash smuggling “to launder drug proceeds on behalf of multiple international drug traffickers and their organisations.”


ATCI has agreed to remit US$345,315 to settle its potential civil liability for two apparent violations of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations.

OFAC determined that ATCI did not make a voluntary self-disclosure of the apparent violations, but credited the insurer for conducting an internal review and cooperating with the agency’s investigation.

OFAC’s case

According to OFAC, five months after Grupo Wisa’s designation in 2016, a US-based cosmetics company assigned to ATCI the right to collect on a US$5.7 million debt owed by Grupo Wisa.

ATCI subsequently filed a claim in Panama as a creditor in the liquidation of Grupo Wisa, and in June 2017, the credit insurer received a payment of US$4 million from the liquidation of the Panama-based company’s assets.

By accepting the assignment of the Grupo Wisa debt, and by receiving the payment from the Grupo Wisa liquidation, OFAC says ATCI appears to have dealt in property or interests of a specially designated narcotics trafficker in violation of US sanctions.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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