US Government Fines Airbnb for Violating Cuban Embargo

As of April 2016, Airbnb had a network of 4,000 rental homes visited by more than 13,000 Americans. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 3 January 2022 — The United States government will collect a fine of $ 91,172.29 from the home rental company Airbnb for violations of the embargo against Cuba, according to a statement published Monday by the Treasury Department.

The company agreed to settle the amount due to “its potential civil liability for apparent violations of the sanctions against Cuba administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC),” the document said.

Although OFAC explained that the violations were not serious and have already been clarified, they included apparent payments related to American guests traveling for reasons other than the 12 categories authorized by OFAC, as well as the failure to maintain records associated with transactions with Cuba.

After reaching an agreement, Airbnb reported that it will address “its deficiencies in compliance with the sanctions” and implement “additional commitments designed to minimize the risk of the recurrence of similar conduct in the future.”

Among the immediate actions, it will implement an IP blocking regime for the granting of permits to people located in Cuba who act as hosts on the platform and thus prevent transactions with that category from being carried out.

The company also proposes to collect information on the country of residence and the payment instrument of its users, in order to determine if “they are nationals or residents” of the Island, as well as guarantee that the hosts certify that they are private entrepreneurs and not “Cuban government officials or members of the Communist Party.”

After the start of the thaw between Havana and Washington, the US-based platform began its operations on the island in April 2015 with homeowners and private rental rooms. At first, it began with reservations for American or Cuban-American travelers and, 12 months later, it expanded its market to tourists from all over the world.

As of April 2016, Airbnb had a network of 4,000 rental homes in Cuba visited by more than 13,000 Americans. According to company data, they have leases in 40 cities and towns on the island, with a third of their supply outside of Havana, in cities such as Trinidad, Viñales, Santiago de Cuba, Matanzas and Cienfuegos.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.