What To Do When Wire Transfer Funds Are Being Held

If a person’s wire transfer funds are being held by their bank or by OFAC, it is important to understand why the funds may have been held. If it is being held by their bank, it is important to cooperate with the bank. If there are civil or criminal implications, it is also important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine if there is anything wrong with the wire transfer on its face, what the person should do about it, and how they should communicate with their bank. If you want to know more about what to do when wire transfer funds are being held, it is important to speak with a capable sanctions lawyer. They could answer questions you may have about wiring funds and could advocate for you.

Figuring Out What Steps to Take While a Transaction is Reviewed

At times when banks are reviewing a transaction, they may ask corresponding banks or the person’s bank questions that may need to be relayed to the bank that is holding the funds. It is important that the person stay cooperative with these questions and respond as best they can.

Simply a lack of a response to the bank that is holding a per funds will result in the funds being put in a blocked account and requiring an OFAC license to be released, which is a lengthy and costly process. It is up to the person to decide what is best for them, whether they should immediately speak with an attorney or whether they should continue to cooperate with the bank and then speak with an attorney if a problem arises. However, not cooperating with a bank can have great consequences, such as the blocking of funds.

Information to Bring When Reviewing a Wire Transfer

If a person wants a lawyer to review their wire transfer, in order to figure out what to do when wire transfer funds are being held, they should bring:

  • Contracts
  • Invoices
  • Wire documents
  • Banking confirmation documents
  • Documents of names of the parties and persons involved in the wire transfer
  • An underlying explanation or reason for the wire transfer

Deciding to Cooperate with a Bank Inquiry of a Wire Transfer

The decision to cooperate with a bank regarding their inquiry of a person’s wire transfer depends on what legal issues are involved in the bank’s inquiry and the implications of cooperating on the matter. It is important to note that the process of cooperating with the bank is less time-consuming and costly than if the funds are eventually held, blocked, and an OFAC license is needed to release them.

Generally speaking, it is a better move to cooperate with the bank rather than it being blocked and having to obtain an OFAC License. This is why it is important to consult an OFAC sanctions attorney if any OFAC sanctions issues may be involved. They can help an individual see whether there are any illegal transactions involved and determine whether it is best to immediately cooperate with the bank on the matter. Lack of cooperation can result in the blocking of the funds that are being held under a compliance review by the bank.

Negative Consequences That Could Arise if Someone Were to Cooperate with Their Bank Inquiry

Some negative outcomes can arise if a person cooperates with their bank. It is possible that, without proper consultation with an attorney, an individual can provide information that is inaccurate or information that will make a bank hold the funds for longer than necessary or entirely block or freeze the funds or the relevant account. Sometimes, it is necessary to speak with an OFAC sanctions attorney to determine what to do when wire transfer funds are being held, what is necessary at that moment, and how to craft responses to the bank to avoid any form of unnecessary information being provided that may muddle the bank’s determination of whether or not to hold the funds.

Filing an Affidavit

Deciding whether to file an affidavit for the wire transfer is a decision that is up to the person, their bank, and their attorney. An affidavit is a written statement and an oath that legally obligates the person to say the whole truth, and it may be used against them later if legal issues arise. In a sanctions-related case with wire transfers, a bank may require the person to sign an affidavit to attest that the wire transfer is in accordance with US sanctions. This does incur a certain amount of liability on the individual that may be unnecessary and, if a problem does arise in the future with the wire transfer or the transfer of funds, the bank can simply transfer the liability, whether civil or criminal, to the person that has signed the affidavit.

It is important to determine whether the language is unnecessarily too broad and will encompass too many liabilities if a person is forced to sign an affidavit. The decision to sign the affidavit should be based on the risk involved in the wire transfer and the liabilities incurred by the customer of the bank. It is important to speak with an OFAC sanctions attorney to see whether it is even necessary to sign the affidavit and incur that amount of liability. The penalties of violating an affidavit include perjury, criminal liability, and convictions of the underlying violations of the affidavit.

How an OFAC Sanctions Attorney Could Help

An OFAC sanctions an attorney can help a person whose wire transfer funds have been held by reviewing the wire transfer and the transactions involved to see if there is any legitimate legal issue or concern. They also can help determine the next best steps for the client to take with regards to the funds that are being held, whether it is likely going to require an unblocking application, or whether it seems to be a typical compliance review from the compliance department of a bank and likely will be released. If an individual wants to know more about what to do when wire transfer funds are being held, they should work with an attorney that could help them resolve their issues.