Export Control

White Collar & Investigations
Regulatory & Compliance

Since 9/11, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has dramatically increased its focus and resources on investigating and prosecuting criminal violations of U.S. export control and sanctions laws and regulations. The U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce likewise have aggressively exercised their civil authority to pursue administrative sanctions for noncriminal violations. As a result, more than ever before, companies engaged in international commerce, large and small, as well as individual officers, directors, and employees of these companies, are being targeted for investigation and prosecution, both criminal and civil, by federal law enforcement authorities. Zuckerman Spaeder LLP has significant experience in defending businesses and individuals who have been the subject of investigations and prosecutions for violating export control and sanctions laws. Our attorneys have represented individuals and companies in cases involving commerce with countries such as Iran, China, Cuba, and Sudan.

Experience Highlights

Our lawyers understand that export control and sanctions enforcement cases place unique demands on criminal defense counsel. Counsel must be able to navigate the web of statutes and regulations that govern commerce with foreign countries, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

Additionally, because of the national security issues at play in these cases, information relevant to the defense is often classified. Defense counsel must be knowledgeable about the special discovery rules and evidentiary procedures concerning classified information that place heavy burdens on defendants. Our lawyers have litigated these access and disclosure issues under statutes such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA).

At the same time, Zuckerman Spaeder lawyers recognize that the ordinary tools available to defense counsel in every criminal case must be aggressively deployed in defense of a client charged with a violation of export control or sanctions laws. Our lawyers have litigated in these types of cases, among other things, motions seeking dismissal of indictments, suppression of evidence, and disclosure of favorable evidence from the government.


The U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce have jurisdiction to enforce export control and sanctions regulations through the imposition of administrative penalties. These regulatory investigations may operate independently of a criminal investigation or in parallel to one.

Our lawyers have represented companies and individuals before both the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce in regulatory enforcement investigations and actions. We understand and have experience with the rules and regulations that govern civil enforcement investigations and proceedings, including the factors that these federal agencies consider in settling civil violations.