Law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed has recruited Sean Kane, formerly deputy assistant director for policy at the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), as a counsel in its international trade practice.

He held his OFAC position for the past six years, contributing to initiatives such as the development and implementation of Russian sanctions and the recent easing of sanctions against Sudan. He also worked on measures related to Iran, Cuba, North Korea, counterterrorism and counter-narcotics, reaching out to foreign governments and the private sector to co-ordinate the implementation of sanctions policies and facilitate compliance.

In his OFAC function, Kane also regularly engaged with Congress on proposed sanctions legislation, as well as with the treasury department on anti-money laundering (AML) issues and foreign investment matters.

Before joining OFAC, he worked as head of risk consultancy at the AKE Group in London, and as a global risk analyst in the London office of Merchant International Group.

Kane’s appointment follows that of Dean Pinkert, former vice-chairman of the International Trade Commission, in March, and fits into the recent trend of law firms hiring former US trade officials in anticipation of trade policy changes by the Trump administration.

Amanda DeBusk, chair of Hughes Hubbard’s trade group, says: “The US government has leveraged the dollar’s privileged role in international trade and finance to exert economic pressure in support of its foreign policy, and in recent years, the sanctions tool has been used with increasing frequency. Sanctions are no longer a blunt instrument but rather a set of tools, and OFAC has developed calibrated response options to a range of issues. Corporations need to identify their potential exposure, mitigate their exposure, and take advantage of authorised opportunities. Sean’s broad OFAC experience makes him uniquely suited to identify, address and mitigate the sanctions compliance issues facing corporate clients. We are pleased to welcome him to the trade group.”