U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement after the Treasury Department announced a $619 million settlement with ING Group for violations of U.S. sanctions laws banning certain financial transactions with Cuba, Iran, Burma, Sudan and Libya. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"This huge settlement sends an unequivocal message that companies which break U.S. law and conduct business with sanctioned countries will be found out and severely penalized. I congratulate the hard working personnel at the Treasury Department for their stellar work in enforcing our sanctions laws.
"ING executives deceived our banking regulators as they sought to profit by doing business with dictatorial and anti-American regimes, including those in Cuba and Iran. ING will now rightly pay the largest fine ever levied by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
"It is not enough to have tough sanctions laws on the books. ING's actions prove that vigorous enforcement and punishment of violators is necessary to prevent our laws from being willfully ignored and turned into paper tigers. Other firms which may consider doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism should look at this $619 million dollar penalty and think twice. If their consciences don't prevent them from doing business with tyrants and extremists, perhaps a $600 million dollar fine will."