PayPal pays $7.7m in US sanctions case

PayPal pays $7.7m in US sanctions case

PayPal has agreed to pay $7.7 million to settle charges from the US Treasury that lax screening technology saw the firm violate multiple sanctions programmes.

According to a Treasury statement, over several years up until 2013, PayPal processed 486 transactions worth a total of just under $44,000 in apparent violation of sanctions because it "failed to employ adequate screening technology and procedures".

Among the sanctions programmes involved were those against Iran, Cuba and Sudan. In addition, PayPal processed 136 transactions connected to an account registered to Kursad Zafer Cire, a Turkish man on a sanctions list for weapons of mass destruction proliferation.

According to the Treasury, PayPal failed to flag Cire because a filter was not "working properly". Later, the technology did flag Cire's account on five separate occasions, but each time risk agents dismissed the alerts without requesting additional information. On a sixth occasion extra information was requested but it was not until the seventh flagging that the account was blocked and reported.

The Treasury says that the apparent Cire violations were "egregious" and that PayPal "demonstrated reckless disregard for US economic sanctions requirements".

PayPal did not admit or deny the allegations and the Treasury says that the firm cooperated with its investigation, has hired new compliance management and strengthened its screening processes and measures.

Comments: (4)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 26 March, 2015, 15:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Going by this one True Negative and countless cases of False Positives, there might be several instances when PayPal's filter wasn't "working properly"!

Chetan Ghadge
Chetan Ghadge - Wipro - Pune 26 March, 2015, 15:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is interesting.  I am wondering if governments can slap a fine on bitcoin transactions or other crypto currency transactions like Ripple in retrospection. It is a possibility if they do become main stream.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 26 March, 2015, 15:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Retrospective fines will always be the way - they can be nothing else... effectively these things act as a  savings plan for the DOJ

Andrew Churchill
Andrew Churchill - MIDAS Alliance - London 26 March, 2015, 18:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

My first reaction from the headline was 'only $7.7m for a regulatory breach - that's a bit tame nowadays'!!

But if you look at it as fining them 175 times the amount in question, or the expectation that full checks should be carried out on payments averaging just $90 a time, and it looks rather different!