U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on an announcement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that it had reached an $88.3 million settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase for what OFAC deemed "egregious" violations of U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Liberia, as well as sanctions targeting support for terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The revelation that J.P Morgan facilitated transactions for rogue regimes in violation of U.S. sanctions is shameful. These regimes kill their own people, and some of them sponsor violent extremism and pursue nuclear, unconventional and ballistic missile capabilities. Yet, J.P. Morgan turned a blind eye to these offenses.
"I applaud the Treasury Department, particularly the Office of Foreign Assets Control, for their success in holding J.P. Morgan and other institutions responsible for their violations of U.S. law. Additionally, harsher measures should be taken. The repeated disregard of sanctions by several banks is indicative of the fact that existing financial penalties are insufficient to deter their illegal and immoral activities in support of cruel dictatorships.
"I urge the Treasury Department to impose the strictest penalties available against those who disregard U.S. sanctions against rogue regimes. I further call on other U.S. agencies, particularly the Department of State, to follow Treasury's example and fully implement U.S. laws targeting these thugs."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen is author the Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905) and the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Act (HR 2047), which seek to strengthen U.S. sanctions against Iran and Cuba, respectively.