Episode 11: Interview with OFAC Attorney

Mehrnoush Yazdanyar, Esq.

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Show Notes


Interview and Discussion with OFAC Attorney Mehrnoush Yazdanyar.

00:00 - Episode Introduction
01:34 - Background of Mernhoush Yazdanyar
02:04 - Initial Legal work and subsequent start of practice (Iran OFAC sanctions works)
02:34 - What she studies in college
03:02 - Her initial real estate legal work and her thoughts about being a lawyer before graduating as opposed to after being an attorney and finding the type of work that she was meant to do
06:25 - Her passion for working/interacting with the client directly which is lacking some types of practices
07:40 - Her experience in Immigration Law, and small family-based immigration practice before starting OFAC work
09:08 - How she got into OFAC work (First OFAC case and saw the effect of sanctions on individuals for personal (non-commercial) transactions
11:30 - How Currency Exchange process works for Iran and how to do it to avoid issues
13:28 - Issues when Moneychangers do Cash Deposits into Client Accounts 
15:35 - IRS Scam for those doing money transfers and effect of investigations into individuals involved in the process (Checking to make sure no one is on the designated OFAC list) and general issues with Iran transactions
18:45 - U.S. Bank rejecting the funds and dealing with Currency Exchangers in Iran, and the importance of good wiring instructions
22:41 Typical OFAC Questions: Is OFAC over or gone?
24:50 - General Licenses for OFAC (two biggest are receipt of family money non-commercial person remittance, gift or inheritance and  sales of real property that had before becoming a US Person, or after becoming a US person through inheritance)
26:00 - Opening a bank account from an OFAC sanctioned country national, while in the U.S. on a tourist visa.
28:50 - General licenses and Specific licenses for business activities with Iran (e.g. agriculture, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, etc). Also sure to adhere to other export regulations from the U.S.
30:36 - Definition of general v. Specific Licenses from OFAC
31:50 - Errors Iranian make when doing OFAC on their own, and sanctions violations they are not aware of
33:15 - Time frame for getting a specific license
34:30 - About the type of practice she has (sole practitioner)
35:40 - She has Offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine and Sherman Oaks (and does a lot, especially with seminars and conferences)
36:38 - Her focus is on transactional side of OFAC (not litigation)
38:40 - How to deal with the businesses of having a legal practice and balancing work and personal life: Making sure to  carve out personal time, working out
41:03 - Where she learned her craft and does continuing education
42:20 - How she did marketing and got clients when first started and how to deal with the volume of calls
46:00 - How to contact her: www.Yazdanyarlaw.com

About Mehrnoush Yazdanyar, Esq.

​Website: www.YazdanyarLaw.com  

Blog: http://www.yazdanyarlaw.com/blog/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP_zrkxGzZ9ufdMOI1qhF_Q 

Yazdanyar Law Offices, specializes in assisting clients nationwide to comply with and address issues related to the sanctions programs administered by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). More specifically, her practice focuses mainly on assisting Iranian-Americans and Legal Permanent Residents of the United States with the legal and transparent transfer of assets from Iran to the United States and/or obtaining specific licenses from OFAC authorizing otherwise prohibited transactions. Yazdanyar Law Offices has successfully defended federally prosecuted clients on issues relating to U.S. trade sanctions, handled OFAC matters arising before the Federal Bureau of Investigations, as well as successfully assisted hundreds of clients throughout the U.S. with the transfer of assets from Iran to the United States. 

Additionally, Ms. Yazdanyar works diligently to protect the rights and assets of her clients. Given the broad reach of the current OFAC regulations involving sanctions against Iran, many members of the Iranian-American community have inadvertently found themselves in possible violation of federal laws. Ms. Yazdanyar makes it a priority to educate the Iranian-American community on the current state of the law and to protect clients against criminal and civil prosecution.

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