MasterCard Gets Treasury Violation Notice for Iran Bank Accounts

  • Company didn't report Bank Melli and Bank Saderat Accounts
  • Account funds never reached sanctioned banks, Treasury says

MasterCard Inc., the second-largest U.S. payments network, received a finding of violation from the Treasury for failing to report accounts held by two Iranian banks that were placed on a list in 2007 that prohibits U.S. entities from dealing with them.

MasterCard had already restricted the Bank Melli and Bank Saderat accounts by that point,because of sanctions the U.S. had imposed on Iran in 1995, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement Wednesday on its website. However, the company failed to report the accounts as blocked, which is required.

"MasterCard’s OFAC compliance program appears to have lacked internal controls that would have prevented, or later identified the oversight of, the violations," according to the statement.

The funds in the accounts never reached the sanctions banks, OFAC said. MasterCard wasn’t fined for the violation.

"We voluntarily alerted OFAC of our inadvertent failure to report assets of two Iranian banks that MasterCard had frozen many years ago," said Seth Eisen, a spokesman for Purchase, New York-based MasterCard. "We take very seriously our compliance obligations and regret that this violation occurred."

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