All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person (including any foreign branch) of a person, organization, or entity designated by the Secretary of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  Once such property or interests in property are in the possession of a U.S. person or someone subject to U.S. jurisdiction it may not be may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.  Hence, the property is considered blocked or frozen.

Property and Interests in Property

Although the Executive Order 13685 (pdf) does not define “property” or “interests in property,” other OFAC administered sanctions programs shed light on what the terms mean.  This definition is from the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 537):

Includes, but is not limited to “money, checks, drafts, bullion, bank deposits, savings accounts, debts, indebtedness, obligations, notes, guarantees, debentures, stocks, bonds, coupons, any other financial instruments, bankers acceptances, mortgages, pledges, liens or other rights in the nature of security, warehouse receipts, bills of lading, trust receipts, bills of sale, any other evidences of title, ownership or indebtedness, letters of credit and any documents relating to any rights or obligations thereunder, powers of attorney, goods, wares, merchandise, chattels, stocks on hand, ships, goods on ships, real estate mortgages, deeds of trust, vendors’ sales agreements, land contracts, leaseholds, ground rents, real estate and any other interest therein, options, negotiable instruments, trade acceptances, royalties, book accounts, accounts payable, judgments, patents, trademarks or copyrights, insurance policies, safe deposit boxes and their contents, annuities, pooling agreements, services of any nature whatsoever, contracts of any nature whatsoever, and any other property, real, personal, or mixed, tangible or intangible, or interest or interests therein, present, future, or contingent.”

Definition of Transfer

In essence, everything related to finance, commerce, business, real estate, or anything of value, either in the past, present or future, is subject to being blocked or frozen.  Equally daunting is the definition of transfer.  Virtually any movement or alteration of a blocked or frozen asset is prohibited.  This definition of prohibited “transfers” is also from the Burmese Sanctions Regulations:

“[A]ny actual or purported act or transaction, whether or not evidenced by writing, and whether or not done or performed within the United States, the purpose, intent, or effect of which is to create, surrender, release, convey, transfer, or alter, directly or indirectly, any right, remedy, power, privilege, or interest with respect to any property. Without limitation on the foregoing, it shall include the making, execution, or delivery of any assignment, power, conveyance, check, declaration, deed, deed of trust, power of attorney, power of appointment, bill of sale, mortgage, receipt, agreement, contract, certificate, gift, sale, affidavit, or statement; the making of any payment; the setting off of any obligation or credit; the appointment of any agent, trustee, or fiduciary; the creation or transfer of any lien; the issuance, docketing, filing, or levy of or under any judgment, decree, attachment, injunction, execution, or other judicial or administrative process or order, or the service of any garnishment; the acquisition of any interest of any nature whatsoever by reason of a judgment or decree of any foreign country; the fulfillment of any condition; the exercise of any power of appointment, power of attorney, or other power; or the acquisition, disposition, transportation, importation, exportation, or withdrawal of any security.”

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