Payoneer told to pay $1.4m fine to US Treasury


Valentina Vitali
Valentina Vitali
FXC Intelligence Research Analyst
Valentina is a Research Analyst at FXC Intelligence, the data sister company of FXcompared. Valentina is passionate about payments and fintech. Valentin enjoys analysing money transfer companies and… Read more
  • Online money transfer firm Payoneer has been told that it must pay well over US$1m after it allegedly broke international sanctions by processing payments for Sudan, Syria and elsewhere.
  • The company has apparently agreed to pay the fine, which was levied by the US Treasury.
  • “This action highlights that money services businesses – like all financial service providers – are responsible for ensuring that they do not engage in unauthorized transactions,” the Treasury said in a statement to the press.

Payoneer, a leading online money transfer provider, has been told that it must pay fines of $1.4m to the US Treasury.

Payoneer has been told that it must pay the money after it dealt with payments for people located in countries against which the US has sanctions in place.

The firm is accused of having put through a number of payments for people and organisations based in Syria and Sudan, according to press reports, as well as for some individuals in Iran.

In total, the company is accused of having processed payments for over 2,000 sanctioned parties.

The list of sanctioned individuals was put together by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Treasury Department.

In a statement, the organisation explained exactly where Payoneer is believed to have broken the rules.

“Payoneer processed 2,241 payments for parties located in certain jurisdictions and regions subject to sanctions including the Crimea region of Ukraine, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and 19 payments on behalf of sanctioned persons,” it said.

OFAC also explained that the problem was worse given Payoneer’s failure to disclose the violations.

“The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that 2,241 of Payoneer’s apparent violations were not voluntarily self-disclosed, 19 were voluntarily self-disclosed, and all transactions were non-egregious.”

The Treasury added that no exceptions would be made for money service firms that did not adhere to sanctions.

“This action highlights that money services businesses – like all financial service providers – are responsible for ensuring that they do not engage in unauthorized transactions prohibited by OFAC sanctions, such as dealings with blocked persons or property, or engaging in prohibited trade-related transactions with jurisdictions and regions subject to sanctions,” it said.

It also called on companies to ensure that they have a proper compliance programme in place when it comes to dealing with this particular aspect of the global money movement system.

“To mitigate such risks, money services businesses should develop a tailored, risk-based sanctions compliance program.”

It is believed that Payoneer has agreed to pay the fine.

A statement from the firm said that it “takes its compliance responsibilities very seriously”.

To discover more about the workings and goings-on in the international money transfers sector, just head over to our reviews pages and read information on all the latest.

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