December 10, 2020

Airbnb Inc.’s potential U.S sanctions violations.

Post by EBII Group

Airbnb Inc. disclosed an initial public filing on Monday 16th November regarding user activity on its platform that may have violated potential U.S. sanctions laws, particularly with regards to its business in Cuba. They said that they had been conducting an internal review since July 2019 and have been in conversation with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) about these possible sanctions breaches. 

Airbnb recognises the consequences of breaching sanctions, stating that ‘we could be subject to potentially significant civil penalties and litigation, and our brand and reputation could be materially adversely affected’. They said that they systematically check their hosts and guests against regulatory, terrorist, and sanctions watch lists to ensure all parties’ safety. They also routinely report to OFAC on payments it has rejected in order to comply with sanctions regulations. However, they may be required to make additional investments in their internal controls as their business grows and regulations change. 

As Airbnb voluntarily disclosed their potential breach of sanctions, they will be seen in a more favourable light by the regulators and may face reduced fines if the sanctions were in fact breached. It is so important to report these possible sanctions violations because the penalties for breaching US sanctions, in particular, can be extremely high, and the damage to your reputation can be monumental. To avoid fines and damage to your reputation, it is vital to stay compliant with sanctions legislation and report any suspected breaches if and when they arise. References

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