Cuba Derechos Humanos

NY Man Sues US Treasury Over Cuba Travel Restrictions

NY Man Sues US Treasury Over Cuba Travel Restrictions
By Chad Bray

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–A New York man filed a lawsuit Thursday
challenging the U.S. government's restrictions on spending by American
citizens and permanent residents while traveling to Cuba.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, alleges Zachary
Sanders was fined after he failed to respond to a March 2000 request by
the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control for information on an
alleged June 1998 trip to Cuba and travel while he was there.

The complaint claims that people who respond to OFAC's request open
themselves up for potential criminal sanctions.

"The penalty imposed against Mr. Sanders is unlawful because the Fifth
Amendment prohibits the government from punishing failure to obey any
regulation that requires a self-incriminating act," the lawsuit said.

An administrative law judge recommended Sanders be fined $1,000 in 2008,
according to the lawsuit. OFAC had proposed a fine as large as $10,000.

OFAC appealed the judge's ruling and a designee for then-Treasury
Secretary Henry Paulson affirmed the penalty and increased it to $9,000
on Jan. 16, the Bush administration's last day in office, according to
the lawsuit.

The complaint, filed on behalf of Sanders by the nonprofit Center for
Constitutional Rights, is seeking a declaration that OFAC's policy is
unlawful, enjoining OFAC from issuing such penalties and setting aside
the fine to Sanders.

The lawsuit names Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as a defendant.

A Treasury spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday, saying Treasury
policy is to not comment on pending litigation.

Article – (17 July 2009)

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