NEW YORK, April 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The inaugural Global Sanctions Summit was held in New York City on April 8. More than 250 participants attended the event to hear expert opinions from financial crimes compliance professionals and thought leaders from global financial institutions and law firms, current and former senior government officials and C-suite executives. The Summit covered the evolution, legal considerations, and business impact of sanctions at a time when the increasing use of sanctions and associated regulatory expectations have created both new challenges and opportunities for international business.
The first panel of the day was moderated by MSNBC Anchor and NBC News Business Correspondent, Ali Velshi, and brought together former Deputy Director of the CIA David Cohen, former Deputy National Security Advisor Juan Zarate, and former US Treasury Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Janice Gardner. The trio debated the just-announced US designation of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
David Cohen stated, "Fundamentally, the Trump administration's plan is to achieve regime change [in Iran] through sanctions pressure. It's not going to work."
However, Juan Zarate offered a different perspective. "A foreign terror organization designation is a powerful tool, if just symbolic," he commented in the exchange of views.
The panel featuring CEOs from top financial institutions, including Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, HSBC USA CEO Patrick Burke, and Mubadala Investment Company CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak, discussed how sanctions affect global business decision-making with moderator, Michael Milken, Chairman of the Milken Institute.
Speaking on a panel that focused on efforts to wield sanctions in the pursuit of democracy, anti-corruption, and human rights, and what those efforts mean for corporate social responsibility, Ambassador Daniel Fried said, "Companies need to do a better job of due diligence and have risk factors, including human rights violators, baked into their standard model."
Ambassador Fried was joined on the panel by former US Treasury Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin, Columbia University research scholar and former State Department Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy Richard Nephew, and Enough Project Founding Director and Co-Founder of The Sentry John Prendergast, with foreign affairs journalist Elise Labott moderating.
Other panels featured global bank representatives to discuss the intersection of sanctions and anti-money laundering in the control framework, and global standards, best practices, and key challenges for international financial institutions in managing sanctions-related risk. Bank risk management leaders discussed their programs, how they keep up with regulatory expectations, trends in enforcement actions and how innovative technologies are transforming the control framework.
Bob Werner, CEO and Founder of Green Hollow Consulting and Head of Kharon's Strategic Advisory Board, stated, "The days of rule-based compliance are over. They're never coming back...Without advancements in technology, [financial institutions and global corporations] will end up in harm's way."
One panel discussion focused on the question of illicit finance in cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and related financial technologies. Panelists discussed the level of sanctions evasion risk posed by these platforms and how the private sector can adequately address related threats.
Following the Summit's conclusion, Kharon CEO Matthew Epstein said, "We had the unique opportunity to hear from global industry leaders and practitioners who offered insightful perspectives on a wide range of sanctions-related issues. With the expanding use of sanctions, encouragement by regulators for industry to take risks in adopting new technologies, and the increasing globalization of commerce and finance, this Summit was the opportune time for high-level reflection and discussion. What is clear is that industry leaders have moved beyond simple government list screening and recognize the need for programs that look strategically at identifying and managing sanctions-related risk."
Kharon is a leading provider of research and data analytics on the networks, activities and jurisdictions targeted by global sanctions programs. Kharon's clients include first tier international financial institutions, global corporates, and professional services firms. Kharon is headed by former senior officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Office of Foreign Assets Control, and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.