Economic Sanctions & Export Control

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Ropes & Gray offers global business leaders unrivaled counsel on all aspects of international economic sanctions and export control regulations, providing experienced advice in the face of increasing enforcement activity.



Prosecutions for violations of regulations enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) within the Department of Commerce, and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) of the Department of State have increased dramatically in the last few years. Many of these prosecutions involve some of the world’s largest and most respected companies, and this trend is likely to continue. The same is true of violations of the anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-boycott laws. Companies and individuals involved with international business transactions must understand and comply with OFAC, BIS, DDTC and AML regulations or face the risk of investigation and prosecution.

Ropes & Gray offers a top-tier team of attorneys who advise clients, including international conglomerates, freight forwarders, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, and financial institutions, as well as their officers and directors, on all aspects of international economic sanctions and export control regulations—from the development of compliance programs to internal investigations to the defense of criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions.


  • Representing an international freight forwarding company in an internal investigation concerning potential OFAC violations by foreign subsidiaries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Working with the forwarder to craft and implement OFAC and BIS training for new offices in Europe and the Middle East.
  • Advising a private equity client on the acquisition of an International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) registrant.
  • Representing an international medical device company in responding to an OFAC subpoena concerning sales to Iran and a BIS voluntary disclosure regarding sales into Syria.
  • Advising an asset management firm on state law prohibitions on investment in companies doing business in embargoed countries.
  • Representing an international freight forwarding company in responding to a BIS and U.S. Attorney’s Office criminal investigation into potential export control violations concerning the shipment of laptop computers to Iran.
  • Represented an international conglomerate in connection with potential OFAC and BIS violations by foreign subsidiaries in Europe and Latin America shipping to Cuba.
  • Successfully guided a Japanese company through the CFIUS submission and process in its acquisition of a US entity with DoD investment.
  • Representing a UK company in its CFIUS submission for the acquisition of a US company with DoD contracts and an ITAR registration.
  • Advised a number of companies on their disclosure requirements pursuant to ITRSHRA
  • Advising a private equity firm on OFAC and AML issues concerning potential portfolio company acquisitions in India and China.
  • Advising a U.S. private equity firm on activities of a foreign portfolio company that included business arrangements with entities in Myanmar. 
  • Advising a private equity firm on OFAC and BIS issues concerning a potential portfolio company acquisition in the insurance adjustment industry.
  • Represented an individual member of the board of directors of a European bank in connection with allegations of illegal U-turn payments.
  • Representing an individual in connection with a threatened criminal action related to potential sales of products to Iran.
  • Advised multiple foreign companies that acquired U.S. targets on the CFIUS review process and submitted Joint Voluntary Notices to CFIUS on their behalf.
  • Assisting a number of companies, both U.S. and foreign, in analyzing potential foreign business transactions for compliance with the Commerce Department’s Commerce Control List and the Treasury Department’s OFAC restrictions. Transactions include acquisitions of foreign companies, partnerships with local companies, and  brokering services.
  • Developed and implemented OFAC policies and procedures for several multinational investment advisers, including the preparation of policies and procedures and the provision of global training and standard contract terms and conditions, as well as the evaluation of various compliance matters.
  • Developing a comprehensive economic sanctions and export control compliance for a multinational company based in France.
  • Advising private equity sponsors, their portfolio companies, and investment advisors on the scope of application of U.S. and E.U. sanctions related to Russian and Ukraine.