US sanctions preventing payment from Syria to France?
Thread poster: Sheila Wilson

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Jul 11, 2010

Hello,

In April, I did some work for a highly respected agency in Syria - at least that's what the Blue Board would have you think and I have certainly found the PM helpful and friendly at all times.

When payment didn't arrive on the deadline, I contacted the company. A search showed that the payment to my French bank account had been rejected quite some time before. The company re-sent the money, thinking there had been some sort of human error. Some time later, I contacted them again and they investigated again. Finding: payment was being blocked as a result of a recent tightening of US sanctions against Syria.icon_confused.gif

Of course, I agreed to be patient while they looked for alternative ways of getting my money to me. What else could I do, apart from ringing Obama to request special treatment?

I was later asked for my PayPal Id and then they went silent again. It's now 13 weeks since I invoiced them. Before contacting the company again, I thought I ought to find out if others are having similar problems (or not).

So, are you? Thanks for any input that may help me get paid.

Sheila


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:13
English to German
+ ...
PayPal Jul 11, 2010

I just read that Syria is blacklisted by PayPal as well...

icon_frown.gif


 

TargamaT team  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 18:13
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
In Euro... Jul 11, 2010

Hi,

You have to ask that they do the transfer in Euro... It does not go through the US...

Meilleures salutations

OR


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
American sanctions against Syria Jul 11, 2010

http://entreprises.bnpparibas.fr/reglementation-vigilance-transferts-de-fond

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oh dear! Jul 11, 2010

Thanks everyone for your help. It looks as though I have a real problem.

@ TargamaT - thanks for the tip. I'll try that one.

@ Teresa - thanks for the link. It mentions about getting paid in euros, as TargamaT suggested.

@ Nicole - "Don't shoot the messenger" they say, so I'll thank you kindly for that bit of bad news.icon_smile.gif

How many ways are there to do work and never be paid for it? They seem endless. I never thought to clear it with Obama before doing a spot of work for a company in Syria.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:13
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Try Lebanon Jul 11, 2010

If you know anyone in Lebanon, or any other country that has good relations with Syria, maybe that's worth exploring as a way of getting paid- a Lebanese-based bank perhaps? I'm sure there's a way you to get paid via a third party. Syria has lots of friends.

[Edited at 2010-07-11 21:30 GMT]


 

imatahan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The Same Jul 12, 2010

Dear Sheila,

Last year I did a translation of school manuals for an iranian company and I had a lot of trouble to receive the money.

Finally, they got someone outside the country (Turkey maybe) to send me the payment.

It's a tough world, where workers have to pay for the governors disagreements...


 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:13
English to French
+ ...
Useful addresses Jul 12, 2010

Hi Sheila,
Try to reach someone there (embassy = consulate in Paris for this country) :

Ambassade de la République arabe syrienne
20, rue Vaneau
75007 Paris
Tel : 01 40 62 61 00
Fax : 01 01 47 05 92 73
Metro : Vaneau ou Varenne ou st François xavier
Ouvert du Lundi au Vendredi de 10h à 13h00
Site internet www.amb-Syr.fr
Email : ambassade-syrie@wanadoo.fr

OR :
Association d'Amitie Franco-Syrienne A.F.S.
M. Henri SERVANT
11 bis, rue Colisée
75008 Paris
Tel : 01 43 59 20 20
Fax : 01 45 63 51 38

Maybe they could give useful tips, as you certainly are not the first one who is facing with this problem.

Good luck

Catherine


 

Ruth Braine  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:13
Arabic to English
US sanctions only affect Paypal Jul 12, 2010

Hi Sheila

I live in Syria, and can confirm that it certainly can be difficult to sort out payment issues! However, if the Syrian company is paying you by bank transfer to a French account, the US sanctions don't come into it. They would only affect a payment via Paypal, as Paypal is an American company. The problem is probably that banks in some European countries (I know of the UK) have their own restrictions on Syria. These are not national restrictions, ie they are not imposed by the European government but by the individual banks. I shopped round and eventually found a UK bank that was prepared to make transfers to Syria, when others were not.

Maybe Moneybookers or another transfer service is a solution, as they are not American?

If there is any way I can help by actually being in the country, please let me know.


 

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:13
Chinese to English
checks Jul 12, 2010

How about checks or money order? It takes longer but its better than waiting forever until Uncle Sam lifts the sanction.

Next time research the country of your client to make sure such restrictions do not exist, and if it does ask them ahead of time what are they willing to do to make up for it?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Jul 12, 2010

Imatahan wrote:
It's a tough world, where workers have to pay for the governors disagreements...


I couldn't agree more. Good to hear you eventually got paid, as I am sure I will.

@ Catherine - Thanks for the addresses. I'll let you all know if there's any feedback that's of use to others.

@ Ruth - unfortunately, it affects bank transfers too if they are done in dollars - Teresa's BNP Paribas link makes that clear (in French). Thanks for the offer of help and I hope you aren't suffering too much. I've dealt with Syria once and probably won't try again, whilst you're stuck with the situation full time.

@ Tai Fu - thanks for the suggestion. A cheque is certainly another avenue to pursue.

The good thing is that I have a client who is determined to pay somehow and is exploring various avenues, including asking his clients to divert their payments to me. I feel better about it now having discussed it with you all.

Thanks for giving me hopeicon_smile.gif


 

Assem Mazloum  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:13
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...
reply from Syrian fellow Jul 12, 2010

Hi,
Hope everything is going to be ok Sheila, I guess your problem is going to be solved soon.
Even moneybookers is adopting that policy, imagine this, now we can receive payments but not withdraw them, how about that? any ideas?

I just wanted to point out that this preposterous policy includes payments to Syria as well. Imagine a life where you're deprived of making a living.
We have nature reservation groups, even animal groups, yet, no active Humanity groups, now that's a shame, and remember, even the smallest stone could cause big circles, we as translators need to unite and try make a difference, especially those who are in western countries.

Once again, this is not a political statement, rather humanitarian one.

Regards,


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All's well for me now Jul 12, 2010

Well, I now have my payment, routed through a third country, so the story has a happy ending for me.icon_smile.gif

Assem Mazloum wrote:
Imagine a life where you're deprived of making a living.


It really is doing so much harm to the ordinary small businesses trying to make a small profit and provide employment for others. How many of these people who are suffering have anything to do with supplying arms, technology, etc to terrorists (if that's what all this is about)? None! And don't those who are targetted by these sanctions have ways and means of avoiding them? Of course they do!

We have nature reservation groups, even animal groups, yet, no active Humanity groups, now that's a shame, and remember, even the smallest stone could cause big circles, we as translators need to unite and try make a difference, especially those who are in western countries.


Yes, it's true. I'm not a political animal but I don't like to see anybody victimised. Those who do wrong should be punished, but not their families and compatriots.

As translators offering services over the internet, we are probably more concerned than most "little people" about these issues. This thread is concerned with a specific issue but if anyone has any ideas for action perhaps they could start a separate thread.

Thanks to all for your supporticon_smile.gif


 

Ronald van der Linden  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:13
German to Dutch
+ ...
USD transactions: jurisdiction of OFAC Jul 12, 2010

http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/
There is something called "OFAC" (Office of Foreign Assets Control; it has existed since the 1950s, in order to control Chinese and Korean properties in the US during the Korean War).

USD transactions, as these transactions have to be cleared by American clearing banks fall under the jurisdiction of the OFAC. In order to avoid problems with clearing a European bank would, if the USD wire/ bank transfer originates from a country which is on the OFAC list, return the transaction to the source. Paypal, is an American organization, and its transactions therefore fall under jurisdiction of the OFAC.

EURO transactions are not cleared by American clearing banks (outside the US), and are not within jurisdiction thus will not be affected by the OFAC.

The issue in your particular situation is that a USD transaction will be bounced, thus avoiding freezing of the funds by the OFAC, but since the European Union have a different set of sanctions in comparison to the US, you can however receive funds in EUR from Syria.

As colleagues have already mentioned: your best option is to ask your client to pay in Euros or any other currency that is not USD.

Good luck.

[Edited at 2010-07-12 17:15 GMT]


 


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