Tightening Oversight over Companies Doing Business in Bad Places
Reports are surfacing that the Securities and Exchange Commission has finally begun to take action to carry out a mandate given it in the 2004 Appropriations Act (passed in November 2003) to take a more active interest in overseeing the engagement of American corporations in sanctions-designated areas overseas.
This includes countries designated by the State Department as providing support to international terrorism. An Associated Press story put out today indicates that the SEC recently sent letters to US companies, and foreign companies registered in the United States requesting that they disclose any business dealings with terror-supporting countries.
This disclosure request apparently also included business activities in other countries subject to US sanctions regulations.
Previously, the SEC had taken a more passive stance regarding sanctions measures and terrorism-related issues.
Following 9/11 the SEC Division of Enforcement commenced a review of stock and commodity trading activity undertaken prior to the 9/11 attack. They also worked with the FBI to circulate to, and obtain information from, SEC registered companies concerning any dealings they might have had with persons or entities on a confidential “control list’ circulated for that purpose.