US Lifts Sanctions On Sudan’s Largest Bank

From the Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2011:

The Treasury Department on Thursday lifted sanctions on Sudan’s largest bank, after determining that the Sudanese government no longer holds a controlling interest in it, officials said.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control posted notice on its website that Bank of Khartoum was removed from the blacklist, meaning it can seek the return of blocked assets and resume limited dealings with U.S. financial institutions.

The notice gave no reason for the de-listing, but Treasury officials said the bank’s privatization prompted the move. The bank, which has 17 branches in the capital and 33 branches nationwide, had been state-owned until about five years ago, when Dubai Islamic Bank became a 60% shareholder. Bank of Khartoum petitioned OFAC to be removed from the list, officials said.

The officials declined to comment on how many assets were unblocked.

The U.S. classifies Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism; sanctions that generally bar U.S. banks from facilitating exports to the country and doing business with the Sudanese government remain in place.

Although most transactions involving Bank of Khartoum are still prohibited, U.S. financial institutions are authorized to transfer personal remittances to and from Sudan that are processed through the bank.

After years of violence, in January an overwhelming majority in the southern part of Sudan voted to secede from the north. The split is expected to become effective July 9.

President Obama said in February that he would review sanctions on Sudan, provided that the Sudanese government allows a peaceful transition to democracy in the South.

U.S. sanctions on Sudan will not apply to the new nation, the Treasury has said.

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