WASHINGTON, July 15, CMC:
A firm in the American state of Washington has agreed to pay 1.35 million US dollars to settle apparent violations of the US economic blockade on Cuba from 2006 to 2009, the United States Department of Treasury has said.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the Great Western Malting Company, which produces malt for brewers, distillers, and the food industry, aided in the unlicensed sale of non-US barley malt to Cuba.
US authorities said the firms could have been fined nearly six million dollars for having handled the back-office functions for a foreign affiliate in the deal.
OFAC said some of the transactions, from August 2006 to March 2009, involved people in Cuba and a Cuban ship, without identifying the foreign affiliate, the people, or the vessel.
The case was settled for the lesser penalty because it was Great Western’s first sanctions violation, the firm “substantially cooperated” with federal investigators, and the malt would have been eligible for an OFAC licence if shipped from the United States, the agency said.
US laws allow the licensed sale of agricultural goods to Cuba. Those sales amounted to 347 million dollars in 2011 and stood at 186 million dollars for the first four months of this year, US officials said. US exports to the socialist-ruled island hit a record of 710 million dollars in 2008.