Archives: Anti-Money Laundering

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Banks to Push for Reform to Anti-Money Laundering Rules

Financial institutions long have complained that current anti-money laundering (AML) regulations are costly and ill-suited to prevent crime and terrorism. According to one study, the cost of compliance with AML rules approaches $8 billion. The rise in compliance costs has coincided with a sharp increase in both the number and amount of penalties assessed by … Continue Reading

Roundup of Recent AML/Sanctions Enforcement Actions

Capping off a year of robust sanctions enforcement, two recent enforcement actions highlight the risks of doing business with sanctioned countries, in particular Iran.  In December 2016, federal and New York state regulators initiated enforcement actions related to alleged sanctions violations involving Iran.  In the first enforcement action, Italy’s largest retail bank, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA … Continue Reading

Dramatic Rise in FinCEN Enforcement

On October 3rd, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) assessed a $12 million penalty against the sports betting company CG Technology. Like something out of a bad TV crime drama, CG executives were involved with an illegal gambling operation dubbed the “Jersey Boys.”  CG failed to implement an anti-money laundering (AML) compliance system and to … Continue Reading

Treasury’s Cold Comfort Message Regarding Correspondent Banking and AML/Sanctions

For several years, banks have been bludgeoned with anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions penalties. These twin hammers, increasingly wielded simultaneously and synergistically by regulators and prosecutors, have produced multi-billion dollar penalties.  The Treasury Department now has released a message seemingly intended to provide some comfort to the bruised and wary banking community.  But that comfort … Continue Reading

Customer Due Diligence Guidance by FinCEN for Certain Financial Institutions

On July 19, 2016, the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Frequently Asked Questions to clarify the scope of its rule, “Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Requirements for Financial Institutions.”  Steptoe’s International Compliance Blog covered the rule in May. This rule took effect on July 11, 2016, but does not require … Continue Reading

FinCEN Expands its Real Estate GTOs, Citing Value of Initial Orders

Consistent with the trend we noted previously, FinCEN has expanded its real-estate focused Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs).  The new GTOs target real estate transactions beyond Manhattan and Miami to include six geographic areas:  all boroughs of New York City, and counties in or near Miami FL, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA, San Diego CA, … Continue Reading

FinCEN’s New Anti-Money Laundering Rule Requires “Beneficial Ownership” Due Diligence, Advancing Financial Transparency

On May 11, the U.S. Treasury Department published a long-pending anti-money laundering rule.  Through this rule, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Treasury arm that issued the rule, has extended the obligations of financial institutions to conduct due diligence on customers. This rule is directly related to the “Panama Papers” – a recently-revealed huge … Continue Reading

Panama “Waked” Up to Painful New Money Laundering Sanctions

The new U.S. sanctions announced on May 5, 2016 against the Waked Money Laundering Organization (MLO) pile on the pain and humiliation for Panama, coming just a few weeks after the Panama Papers scandal broke.  This development may start to raise serious questions in the international financial community about Panama’s ability to control financial crime … Continue Reading

Treasury Announces Anti-Money Laundering, Corruption, and Tax Evasion Regulations and Legislation

On May 5, 2016, the US Department of the Treasury announced several actions to crack down on illicit financial conduct and increase transparency in the financial system.  First, Treasury will publish a Customer Due Diligence (“CDD”) Final Rule.  This rule will harmonize and clarify existing anti-money laundering due diligence requirements and also add a new … Continue Reading

FinCEN Reissues Final Rule Against FBME Bank

On March 25, 2016, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that it is reissuing a final rule against FBME Bank Ltd. (FBME).  Under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, FinCEN has authority to designate a foreign financial institution as a “primary money laundering concern” and promulgate a rule imposing “special measures” … Continue Reading

Smart Tools and Targeted Enforcement: FinCEN’s Increasing Use of Geographic Targeting Orders

The current leadership of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) aggressively has sought to close gaps in its anti-money laundering enforcement efforts.  We’ve blogged about some of FinCEN’s recent efforts (here and here) to broaden regulation and bring new types of enforcement actions.  Along similar lines is FinCEN’s increasing use of Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) … Continue Reading

FinCEN’s Expanding Enforcement in 2015

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) was very active in the waning days of 2015.  And FinCEN’s message from this activity is clear – it is closing any gaps it finds in anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement, including for non-traditional financial institutions, not used to being the focus of regulation, but increasingly the choice … Continue Reading

Anti-Money Laundering Developments at FinCEN

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been busy – both on offense and defense. In just the past few months, two foreign banks have filed novel lawsuits against FinCEN in response to draconian “Section 311” FinCEN actions against those banks. At the same time, FinCEN is broadening the reach of its anti-money … Continue Reading