October 24,2016

Press Contact:

Ryan Carey (202) 224-4515 

Wyden Looks To Tighten Sanctions On Syria

In Letter to Treasury Secretary, Wyden Asks for Info on Individuals and Entities Under Sanction, Details on Policies Intended to Block Shell Companies from Evading Sanctions

WASHINGTON – In an effort to investigate ways the U.S. could further isolate the government of Bashar al Assad and pressure him to end his campaign of violence against his own nation, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today requested detailed information from the Treasury Department on sanctions in place against the Syrian regime and the strategies intended to prevent shell companies from evading those sanctions.

“Like many in this country, I am deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict in Syria. The horrific violence continues to undermine regional security and stability. I am requesting more information about the Syria sanctions regime to better understand the breadth and effectiveness of this program,” Senator Wyden wrote.  “Particularly in light of the administration’s decision to suspend bilateral contacts with Russia over the Syrian crisis, we want to ensure that our sanctions are being implemented as effectively as possible.”

Senator Wyden’s letter asked for responses to several questions centered on how Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has used and expanded the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list and the Foreign Sanctions Evaders list to enforce sanctions over the course of Syria’s civil war. He also asked whether the Office of Foreign Assets Control plans to make policy changes that would fight the use of shell companies to evade sanctions. 

The full text of today’s letter can be found here.

Senator Wyden has been working to prevent the misuse of shell companies for illegitimate activities including tax evasion and terrorist financing.  Last week, he wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury and the head of the IRS regarding the use of shell companies related to the Panama Papers disclosures.