Skip to content


Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

OFAC fines Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway $4 million for Iran sanctions violations

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said Wednesday it fined Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. $4.2 million after a subsidiary based in Turkey knowingly violated OFAC’s sanctions against Iran.

The Berkshire subsidiary — Iscar Kesici Takim Ticareti ve Imalati Limited Sirket (Iscar Turkey) — exported 144 shipments of cutting tools worth about $383,000 to two third-party Turkish distributors. Iscar Turkey knew “that such goods would be shipped to a distributor in Iran for resale to Iranian end-users, including several entities later identified as meeting the definition of the Government of Iran,” OFAC said.

The “apparent violations constitute an egregious case,” according to OFAC.

The sales violated the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations or ITSR, OFAC said. Under those sanctions, U.S. entities and individuals can be penalized for transactions “engaged in by entities that they own or control and are established or maintained outside of the United States if such transactions would have been prohibited if engaged in by a U.S. person or in the United States.”

OFAC said the “conduct forming the basis for OFAC’s egregiousness determination, however, is attributable to Iscar Turkey and other Berkshire subsidiaries but not Berkshire itself.”

Iscar Turkey believed in 2013 that international sanctions against Iran would soon end. The company set up distribution channels in advance to position itself. It used Turkish distributors as intermediaries to deal with distributors in Iran.

The Turkish distributors “also entered into arrangements with other Turkish companies to issue false invoices, falsely giving the impression that goods were going to other Turkish companies rather than Iran,” OFAC said. The sales continued until 2016.

OFAC said Berkshire voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations on behalf of Iscar Turkey, cooperated in the investigation, and took remedial action.

Download OFAC’s Settlement Agreement with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. here.


Share this post


1 Comment

  1. To a Canadian business lawyer, this seems like an appropriate outcome. In another article maybe you could help us understand why Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is being threatened with jail time for the same crime.

Comments are closed for this article!