PanAmerican Seed, a division of Ball Horticultural Co., has been charged with violating trade sanctions to Iran over a number of years.
According to a release from the U.S. Treasury department, PanAmerican Seed made 48 indirect sales of seeds to two Iranian distributors. The company shipped the seed to consignees based in countries in Europe and the Middle East. PanAmerican Seed’s customers then arranged for the re-exportation of the seeds to Iran.
The release states that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined PanAmerican Seed did not voluntarily self-disclose the alleged violations to OFAC, constituting an egregious case.
“We believe that the settlement was extreme; however the alternative was to litigate with the U.S. government, which would take months, if not years,” says Todd Billings, Chief Financial Officer for Ball Horticultural Co.
When asked what Ball Horticultural Co. has done to ensure that violations to trade sanctions do not happen again, by PanAmerican Seed or any of its other breeding companies or divisions, Billings says the company has updated its reporting techniques, among other measures.
“At the time of the shipments, our compliance and monitoring controls were weak,” Billings says. “Since that time, we have substantially improved our compliance programs. We have also updated our terms and conditions to refer to OFAC sanctions programs, and conducted employee training and education to understand the restrictions and transact business in a compliant manner.”
Growers can rest assured that PanAmerican Seed’s products and services will not be compromised following the settlement, including the price of seed, Billings says.
“This settlement will not affect pricing to customers,” he says. “PanAmerican Seed will continue to offer its full range of high-quality products at a competitive price.”